The Jerusalem Post
Enough senseless funerals
Regarding “NGO director blames government” (March 31), the death of lone soldier Alex Sasaki is a tragedy.
The statement “Some lone soldiers are reluctant to report mental health problems… since they worry about their military profile” is true of Israeli soldiers, as well. There is pressure in Israeli society to have a high profile and serve in a combat unit. Many soldiers do not disclose mental health issues for fear of having their profile lowered and a permanent mark on their record.
Sadly, the death of a lone soldier of a drug overdose brought this issue to light. All organizations should join together to deal with this. A serious mental health examination should be part of the draft process for all soldiers. Lone soldiers who voluntarily join the IDF often give up a comfortable life. It is important for the IDF, with other agencies, to conduct clear and thorough interviews to understand their reasons.
Sometimes the young person, dissatisfied with life in his/her home country, hopes that moving to Israel and joining the IDF will solve their problems. We need to be mindful of the funeral for the young soldier who died under difficult circumstances. The message to another troubled young soldier might be that it is important to confront the issues.
Hopefully, with agencies working together to make soldiers and lone soldiers feel safe and protected, we won’t have additional senseless funerals.