Bar Kalaf
Bar KalafCourtesy of the family

Bar Kalaf, the 33-year-old young man who set himself on fire on Tuesday after not being recognized as eligible for benefits by the Ministry of Defense, has passed away.

Kalef was taken to the Sheba Hospital in serious condition. He was treated in a shock room by the medical teams at the Emergency Medicine Center and the National Burn Center in Sheba.

Kochva, Bar's mother, blames the Ministry of Defense. "You can't take 18-year-old boys for three years, and after that, they have to face life and think that nothing will happen," she said. "He didn't go through a long process, they read the medical file, and that's it, they underestimated him."

She recounted the day when she was informed that her son's request for recognition as post-traumatic was rejected: "I was shocked. I called after the rejection and said innocently I want medicine for my son, you can't wave him off. I see the group of parents as the only ones doing the work. My son was not sick, he is a strong child."

"We both felt lost in all the systems, the social security, and the associations that tried to help. I feel lost in this world. I didn't think something like this could happen, I didn't think he would hurt himself. Bar is the salt of the earth."

She also said: "People who met him on the way and accompanied him revealed that these were things that happened in the army, I also thought the truth, but I didn't want to see. About four years after the army, he became angry and had fits of rage. There was some kind of trigger. He is a person who wants to move on, he's not one to want to despair."

She later said that her son did not say that he would harm himself: "He was desperate and could not get help. He submitted a request to the Ministry of Defense for recognition. We went to rehabilitation and a psychiatrist, and he said that the soldiers who clashed with the civilian population had been harmed. He wrote that he had anxiety. We need to investigate more what happened to Bar, he was not sick."

The Ministry of Defense said that "a preliminary investigation shows that the man served in the IDF in 2008-20011. His application to be recognized as disabled by the IDF was examined in depth and rejected after he was diagnosed as suffering from a mental illness, which is not post-trauma and is not related to his military service."

"It should be noted that the doctors who examined him and treated him during the past year and a half did not diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder. The Ministry of Defense was in continuous contact with his family throughout the investigation of the request and wished for his safety and health," it said.