Israel’s Defense Ministry published data on Sunday revealing that it recognizes 57,277 disabled Israel Defense Forces veterans, including those with physical and mental disabilities. The data was released in honor of the 5th annual Day of Appreciation for those wounded in Israel’s wars and terrorist attacks.
The number includes 5,000 veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to their service. According to the ministry, much focus has been placed in recent years on treating and reintegrating PTSD victims back into the workforce.
According to the published data, 591 of those being treated by the ministry’s rehabilitation department are considered “highly disabled” and 817 were wounded during Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014. Of those injured during “Protective Edge,” 516 have a disability rate of 20 percent or higher, making them eligible for individual, spousal and/or family psychological therapy.
For each patient, the department provides specialists and a social worker “in order to provide him with a comprehensive medical, social, employment and profit-related response.”
According to Defense Ministry Deputy Director General Hezi Mishta, who is also head of the ministry’s rehabilitation department, the Day of Appreciation was instituted four years ago to “pay tribute to those who paid a heavy price for state security.”
“The rehabilitation division cherishes disabled IDF veterans every day and works to provide them with the best medical care, to give them the full rights granted by the law and to help reintegrate them to society, school and the workforce. This is our mission,” he said.
In addition to the Day of Appreciation for wounded IDF veterans, the ministry’s rehabilitation department collaborates with academia to publish and promote research about therapeutic treatments for PTSD.