Data provided by the Israel Defence Forces has revealed that 14 serving soldiers committed suicide in 2012. It is said that just around a third of the suicides were recent immigrants to Israel. The figures were discussed by the absorption and immigration committee of the Knesset (parliament) on Monday. The focus of the discussion was the suicide rate among newly-arrived migrant soldiers.
General Eyal Brechter, the Chairman of the IDF’s Psychological Health Department, warned that “revealing such sensitive data would encourage suicide among soldiers”. He said that of the 4 soldiers who committed suicide and were recent migrants, two were from the former Soviet Union, one was from Ethiopia and the other was from New Zealand.
The Director of the Studies and Information Centre; Dr. Shirley Avrahami, insisted that it “is important to raise the debate about the issue while the subject of suicide among soldiers is not a state secret”. The Centre’s representatives were quoted as saying that the suicide rate among immigrants is “worrying”.
Apart from the 14 suicides in 2012, 8 Israeli soldiers died in road accidents, 7 died from disease, 5 died due to “excessive training” and 3 were killed in accidents which occurred during exercises; two more drowned.