TEL AVIV (Feb. 2)
The Israel Defense Force is seriously concerned about the suicide rate among soldiers.
Seven have taken their lives since Jan. I. bringing to 37 the total suicides in the armed forces during the current statistical year, which ends on March 31.
Maj. Gen. Ran Goren, head of the IDF’s Manpower Branch at General Headquarters, testified on the subject before a joint Knesset committee last week, Committee Chairman Haggai Merom agreed it was cause for great concern.
Another committee member, Michael Bar-Zohar, observed that the number of suicides in the 14 to 21 age group in Israel corresponds to that in Western countries, and he doubted it could be reduced.
Goren said each case of suicide in the IDF is investigated. It turns out that most stem from family or personal problems and very few are service-related, such as an inability to adjust to army life, he said.
In fact, only two soldiers who killed themselves indicated the were abused or harassed while in military service.