PTSD-stricken IDF vet who set himself on fire makes first public appearance

June 20, 2022

“I thank God and the hospital. I’m definitely living proof that innovation saves lives,” says Itzik Saidyan.

IDF veteran Itzik Saidyan, who set himself on fire in April 2021 outside the Defense Ministry offices that provide services to wounded veterans, causing life-threatening burns over most of his body, appeared in public for the first time in over a year on Sunday.

Saidyan spokes at an event for the Friends of Sheba Medical Center, where he has been hospitalized and receiving treatment for the past year.

“I thank God and the hospital,” Saidyan said. “I’m definitely living proof that innovation saves lives, and thank the medical staff who cared for me with such devotion.”

Saidyan said he had made it a goal to continue speaking on behalf of wounded IDF veterans and said he would be happy to contribute in any way to “promoting life-saving projects.”

President Isaac Herzog also spoke at the event, saying that he and his wife, Michal, had been following Saidyan’s story.

“A wounded vet, whose outcry on behalf of PTSD sufferers shocked us all and touched all our hearts, led to a welcome, major change. Today, the government unanimously approved the ‘One Spirit’ program proposed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz … Michal and I, who have been following Saidyan for some time, are happy to see Sheba’s wonderful work, which proves first of all, Itzik Saidyan’s endless strength and that of his wonderful family, and of course, the Sheba’s staff’s professionalism, determination, and wonderful ability.”

After Saidyan poured accelerant over himself outside the Petah Tikva branch of the Defense Ministry’s Rehabilitation Department, chairman of the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization Eden Kleiman said, “Once again, we are seeing how badly the Defense Ministry’s … is failing to function when it comes to recognizing wounded IDF veterans.”

Published 6.20.2022 Israel Hayom

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