Gaza rockets take emotional toll: Israeli residents struggle with post-trauma, shock

Local leaders say that millions of shekels are needed to ensure that residents in the rocket zone receive the necessary emotional care.

By World Israel News Staff 

Special centers set up to provide emotional assistance to Israelis who live near the Gaza Strip are collapsing under the strain of a traumatized population, following repeated waves of rocket attacks, in addition to other forms of violence directed at them from the Hamas-ruled enclave.

The centers are facing serious budgetary problems, according to the Mako news website. In early May, some 700 rockets were fired on southern Israel, and it was only one of over 10 episodes of intensive waves of attacks over the past year.

Yet, some people seeking post-traumatic and other forms of emotional relief are unable to receive the necessary care.

The average waiting period to get an appointment has grown from a couple of weeks to a month and a half, reports Mako. The effects of waiting the additional time can be critical, says the report.

Local leaders are calling on the national government to provide five million shekels in aid annually to ensure that these people are not abandoned.

The website tells some personal stories of those affected, including a 15-year-old boy named Ron who never showers when he is alone. Apparently, in fact, there are many teens who live in that area near the Gaza Strip who make sure that at least one of their parents is at home when they go into a shower, says Mako, and they leave the door partially open.

Recently, when a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel was reported, Ron decided to take the bold move of showering when his parents were not at home.

However, within minutes, he found himself phoning his mother to report that he was suffering from a racing heartbeat, blurry vision, weakness, shortness of breath, and ringing in his ears. It was a full-blown anxiety attack, the website reports.

His mother rushed home from work as Ron was about to collapse.  She managed to calm him down.

There are many examples of similar situations, like the 8-year old girl who lives on a kibbutz near the border who refused to return to school and wouldn’t leave the shelter of the armored safe room after hearing the sound of shattered glass.

However, many of these people are told at the emotional aid centers that there is simply no one available who can treat them.

The current situation along the Gazan border is relatively quiet. Local officials and residents alike hope that by the next round of violence, there will be an answer for those who need help.