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At least 1,600 Israeli soldiers show symptoms of combat stress reaction and 250 were discharged from service for this reason, according to Israeli media.

The Israeli news website Walla reported on Tuesday that “symptoms of battle combat stress reaction have appeared on at least 1,600 Israeli soldiers since the start of the ground operation in the Gaza Strip about two months ago”.

According to the report, “the symptoms can appear during or after an activity, and the soldiers can feel, among other things, rapid heartbeat, sweating, a sudden increase in blood pressure, uncontrollable body shaking, confusion, and inability to move.”

If the symptoms continue for more than four weeks, “the soldier’s condition may deteriorate into severe post-traumatic stress disorder,” Walla reported, adding that “about 250 soldiers were discharged from service due to persistent symptoms of combat stress reaction.”

Mental Health System Faces Collapse

Aside from Israeli soldiers, demand for mental health services “has been growing due to the Gaza war” and the system is facing collapse, according to a report published by Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Sunday.

According to Haaretz, the situation is made even worse by the fact that “dozens of psychiatrists working in Israel’s public mental health system have left recently for Britain”.

Haaretz cited Dr. Shmuel Hirschmann, head of the Mental Health Center Directors’ Forum, as saying that “the system is short about 400 psychiatrists”.

The Forum reportedly wrote a letter to the state comptroller on Thursday to address the issue. “We turn to you in desperation concerning the difficult situation of the mental health system in Israel,” the letter reportedly read.

“The events of October 7 resulted in an estimated 300,000 additional patients who require treatment by a trained professional,” the letter also said, adding that “it is not yet known how many of those fighting in the Gaza Strip will suffer post-war trauma.”

Israel has relentlessly targeted the Gaza Strip since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 22,185 Palestinians have been killed, and 57,053 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

Israeli soldiers near the Gaza fence. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Source: The Palestine Chronicle

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