More than 350 Israeli soldiers who took part in last year’s assault on the Gaza Strip have received psychiatric counselling for post-traumatic stress, an Israeli report revealed yesterday.
The report, published in Israel Today newspaper, said that soldiers had undergone treatment for symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress, including disorientation, low productivity and recurring nightmares.
A number of soldiers had undergone treatment for trauma, according to the report.
The newspaper quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that the number of soldiers to receive psychiatric treatment following last summer’s onslaught on Gaza was higher than those who did so following previous operations.
The official, who holds a senior position in the Israeli military’s psychiatric department, said that “hundreds” of soldiers had sought psychiatric treatment for “severe stress” during last summer’s 51-day offensive.
He said that 80 per cent of the soldiers to have undergone treatment had since been “fully rehabilitated” and returned to service.
Treatment was carried out at southern Israel’s Reim Military Base where affected soldiers received up to eight hours of treatment each day; the official was quoted as saying.
Last year in July, the Israeli authorities launched a 51 day war on the Gaza Strip, with the stated aim of staunching rocket fire from the blockaded coastal enclave.
Over 2,160 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed and some 11,000 injured in the offensive, which finally ended with a ceasefire deal signed on August 26.
Meanwhile, 73 Israelis – 68 soldiers and five civilians – were also killed during the offensive, which also saw 2,522 Israelis injured, including 740 military personnel.