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Israel soldiers in combat 3 times more likely to be aggressive post conscription

Israeli security forces fire tear gas at Palestinian protesters on the main street of Beita village in the occupied West Bank, on April 15, 2022 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli security forces fire tear gas at Palestinians in the West Bank on 15 April 2022 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli soldiers who have served in the armed forces are three times more likely to impose aggressive behaviour after returning to civilian life than those who did not, according to a new study conducted by Metiv, an Israel Psychotrauma Centre.

Titled "Exposure to combat experiences: PTSD, somatization and violence amongst combat and non-combat veterans", the study found that soldiers exposed to combat, who were not violent before their military service tended to display higher post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.

After a survey consisting of 1,000 men aged between 21 to 48, researchers also noted that non-combatants are not excluded from combat exposure as all branches of the military are required to participate in combat events.

However, there was a significant difference between Israeli soldiers who have been in combat and non-combatants..

Metiv research head Dr Anna Harwood-Gross and Metiv Director-General and PTSD expert Professor Danny Brom, wrote: "What is important when looking at soldiers is not their formal status of being in a combat unit or serving elsewhere, but more the exposure to combat situations. The exposure does happen also to a certain degree to people serving in non-combat roles. While combat veterans demonstrated more psychological symptoms than non-combat veterans, the greatest difference was observed for those exposed to combat experiences regardless of service type."

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"The study directly impacts the design of post-military care structures," they added.

All Jewish and Druze Israeli citizens over 18 are expected to serve in the army. Israel's 20 per cent Arab population and certain ultra-Orthodox Jews are exempt.

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