While parents of soldiers have come out in defense of the Israeli Defense Forces in regard to mental health, former Chief Medical Officer, Professor Arieh Eldad, has joined in on the criticism. He suggested in an interview that the IDF is not properly prepared for the treatment of suicidal soldiers.
Eldad's comments come after three Givati Brigade soldiers recently took their own lives, in the wake of Operation Protective Edge.
"Just last week we heard that reports of soldiers visiting with mental health officers, or talking to their fellow soldiers and being recognized as distressed, are nonsense," Eldad claimed, in an interview with Arutz Sheva.
According to Professor Eldad, soldiers committing suicide after returning from war is a well-known phenomenon.
"Following the suicides of three Givati soldiers who participated in Operation Protective Edge, I went to the mental health system to collect data, but I did not receive it," Eldad said. "However, this phenomenon is well known. During war, soldiers experience an extremely difficult trauma. They have lost close friends during the fighting, tension is at a pinnacle, but after the tension drops, they lose the flavor to their lives."
"Unfortunately, it is very difficult to spot soldiers who are suicidal, especially in instances of shell-shocked soldiers. They appear to be in better shape, because they are monitored and treated," Eldad added.
The IDF said in response that "suicide prevention among combat soldiers is an important issue of the first order. Army officials and professional workers work tirelessly to reduce and prevent cases of suicide. The IDF extends its condolences to the families and will continue to grieve with them. Military Police will investigate all such cases."