Strengthening Emotional Resilience

Palestinian terrorists in Gaza use an insidious, yet effective, strategy to traumatise Israeli civilians: They target towns in the border region with rocket fire in the morning, when children are on their way to school. Both the shrill warning sirens and explosions of the defensive missiles, induce an incredible amount of fear in the hearts of children. Over the past five years, almost all of the children in the Eshkol region bordering the Gaza strip have received some kind of support or treatment to help them overcome their trauma.

In mid-September, ICEJ-Aid Director Nicole Yoder visited the Eshkol Resilience Centre. This centre, which specialises in trauma therapy and strengthening the psychological resilience of children and their families, was only equipped with an outside shelter which could not be reached quickly. In case of a missile attack, the children and their parents had to just lie flat on the floor and protect their head with their hands.

In response, the ICEJ sponsored the construction of a protective room inside the centre. One of the therapists explained, “You can’t help people with trauma if they don’t feel safe when they come for help.” The director of the center expressed, “Thank you for helping with the basics so that we can go to a shelter and not be harmed.”

The head of security in the Sha’ar HaNegev region, who is a father of three children, stated: “We don’t really have a choice. If we move, they’ll just come closer and take more of the land and we won’t be safer somewhere else. You get used to the reality on the ground. Kids are born into it.” He added: “When the days are ‘normal’ (without alarm) you can practice where to go and what to do when an alarm sounds. That enables children to feel confident and helps them to be able to leave the house.” In the long run the head of security holds on to another hope: “God willing, there should be peace. Thank you for helping us develop and to succeed to raise our children peacefully.”

Please help us strengthen the resilience of Israeli children and adults who live in areas under attack by offering trauma therapy to those affected: