Guardian journalists Amanda Forslund and Charlotta Lindblom have combined forces to write a piece that accuses the Israeli government of abandoning its soldiers who suffer from PTSD. Any idea that this might be a piece showing concern for Israel’s brave soldiers is dispelled almost immediately when they write “the UN accused soldiers of intentionally firing on civilians protesting at the Gaza frontier”.
The catalyst for their piece is a study that was released on 13th February 2013 called Attention to threats and combat-related posttraumatic stress symptoms: Prospective associations and moderation by the serotonin transporter gene.
The study acknowledges that “soldiers psychiatric responses to combat stress vary markedly between individuals” and it analyses soldiers deployed in various combat situations (see table above).
But in their piece Forslund and Lindblom reduce this complex report down to 19 words:
“As many as one in 12 Israeli soldiers who experience high intensity combat report PTSD symptoms, one study found,…”
The study seems to be a general study into the effects of combat and was carried out for the American Medical Association, not the Israeli army. Neither the Israeli army nor its soldiers are named in the title of the study as you can see. The results are presumably applicable to different armies and combat situations throughout the world. The IDF was used merely as a guinea-pig six and a half years ago.
Forslund and Lindblom use the study as a catalyst to specifically track down disatisfied Israeli soldiers to write about their fight for recognition of the illness and for treatment to be financed by the Israeli government.
Unlike Israel and many other countries the UK has a free health service (The NHS) but there are still many problems. Here are examples of how The Guardian headlined cases of PTSD in the British army:
Dealing with PTSD has made me even stronger (December 2015)
Now compare those to this piece by Forslund and Lindblom on PTSD in the Israeli army which is headlined:
I hope all Israeli soldiers recover from PTSD and other injuries. Sadly, thousands have been killed and thousands more left disabled. Those voluntary Israeli organisations mentioned by Forslund and Lindblom (Soldiers for Life, Metiv, Natal) set up to help are also to be highly praised.
PTSD is a serious issue in Israel and every country, but to single out the Israeli government for the accusation of “abandoning” its soldiers must be another sick low for Guardian journalism.