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Suicide cases soaring among Israeli forces, military chief says ‘extremely concerned’

Israeli soldiers hold their weapons during clashes with Palestinian protesters during a demonstration against the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank village of Beit Dajan, east of Nablus. (Photo by Xinhua news agency)

The chief of general staff of the Israeli military has expressed concern over an alarming increase in suicide cases among Israeli troops and ordered more efforts by relevant authorities to deal with the issue.

According to a report published by the Israeli public broadcaster KAN, lieutenant general Herzi Halevi described the soaring increase in suicide cases among Israeli troops as a "dangerous and daunting" challenge for the regime’s armed forces.

He instructed military authorities to come up with a plan to put an end to the phenomenon.

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KAN highlighted that Israel recorded a sharp increase in suicide cases among its military forces last year, and the chief of general staff of the Israeli military has, for this reason, ordered the allocation of more resources and forces in order to deal with the issue.

Israeli media reported that three Israeli soldiers have taken their lives since the beginning of the current month, of whom two committed suicide last week.

According to the Palestine Today news agency, suicide is still the leading cause of death within the ranks of the Israeli army in non-combat situations, and the number has soared dramatically in recent years. 

Official data from the Information and Research Center of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) show that the Tel Aviv regime registers 500 suicides each year, 100 of which are among young people in the 15-24 age bracket.

The Israeli military saw an increase in the number of soldiers killed in uniform over the past year — 44 compared to the previous year’s 31 — as well as a rise in the number of suicides, according to statistics released by the army earlier this year.

Suicide remained the leading cause of death, with at least 14 soldiers believed to have taken their own lives in 2022, compared to 11 in the previous year.

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Most of the suicides in the Israeli military last year were conscripted male troops, Brigadier General Yoram Knafo, chief of staff of the army’s Manpower Directorate, told reporters. He said two of the 14 cases were lone soldiers, troops who either do not have family in the occupied territories or are not supported by their families there.

The Israeli military also noted a significant rise in the number of severely injured soldiers in 2022, with 158, compared to 92 in 2021. 

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