Israel’s Defense Minister talks down suicidal man from ledge

Man dangling from apartment building balcony demands to speak with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant; shortly after phone call, he agrees to return to safety and seek mental help.

By World Israel News Staff

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant left a meeting in order to speak over the phone with a man threatening to commit suicide, who demanded to speak with the high-ranking Likud official in order to agree not to jump from a building.

The 28-year-old man, who was not identified by name in Hebrew-language media reports, hails from the northern coastal city of Hadera.

On Tuesday, the man climbed over the railing of an apartment balcony on the 6th floor of a residential apartment in the city, saying that he wanted to end his life.

Negotiators were able to make contact with the man via cellphone, and after several hours of discussions, he said he would only agree to end the stand-off should he be able to speak with Gallant.

Police contacted Gallant, who spent several minutes speaking over the phone with the suicidal man. Shortly after the conversation, the man safely left the balcony and was transported to a local hospital for mental health treatment.

It’s unclear if the man was a former soldier suffering from PTSD and therefore wanted to speak specifically with Gallant.

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In recent weeks, a number of combat veterans with mental health issues have committed suicide in Israel.

In August, Bar Kalaf, 33, set himself on fire after being denied disability benefits from the Defense Ministry.

Despite being rushed to the hospital, Kalaf tragically died about a day after self-immolating.

Kalaf said he suffered from debilitating PTSD after fighting in the Gaza Strip in 2012. The ministry claimed that the veteran had schizophrenia, and therefore he wasn’t entitled to financial aid.

Just days after Kalaf’s suicide, another former IDF combat soldier named Or Donio also ended his life, after he said the Defense Ministry had subjected him through bureaucratic hell in order to be eligible for disabled veteran benefits.