Israeli children left traumatised even after militants' rockets stopped falling

Psychotherapist reports that some youngsters are too scared to leave air shelters days after conclusion of Operation Breaking Dawn


Children who were among the hundreds of thousands of Israelis taking refuge in air shelters from the bombardment from Gaza over the weekend have been left traumatised, say experts.

Though the alert is now over with the conclusion of Operation Breaking Dawn, many children will still be experiencing nightmares after hundreds of rockets were fired across the border indiscriminately.

Psychotherapist Tami Beck is director of the Sarah Ronson Crisis and Intervention Centre, which is supported by British Emunah and provides therapy for families living near the Gaza border.

She told the JC: “We are no longer hearing alarms but children are still scared. Some are actually frightened to leave the shelter.

"Some fear every noise, and many are scared to independently do things they normally do alone, even showering and getting dressed.”

It is common for children to react to a period of rocket fire by regressing to habits they left behind at younger ages, like bedwetting, Ms Beck said.

She reported a sharp increase in enquiries at her centre. Most are from families that have sought help following past rounds of violence, and are now seeking support again. Over the coming days she expects an influx from families turning to her staff for the first time. She said: “We hope the things we are seeing now, effects of this last violence, go away quickly, but experience suggests otherwise.

“We know that symptoms often don’t go away quickly, and people are very much still suffering from past rounds of violence.

“In Sderot and the surrounding area I think that almost every family has someone with some form of post-trauma. We have lots of children who are still suffering from the effects of the round of violence just over a year ago.

“I have personally encountered children whose mothers I met in a therapeutic context years ago — that’s how long-term the impact of this violence is proving.”

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