Survey: Entire Israeli population suffers war trauma

Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War: 11% of Israelis have been directly exposed and 20.2% indirectly exposed to terrorist attacks since September 2000.

"The entire population of Israel can be said to suffer from direct or indirect trauma from terrorism and war," declares a survey of Israelis' coping mechanisms for dealing with the reality of terrorism, conducted by NATAL - Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, chaired by Judith Yovel Recanati.

The results of the survey will be presented today at NATAL's conference on trauma from terrorism and war - crisis and hope. The conference organizers, headed by Prof. Avi Bleich MD, Head of the Psychiatry Department in the Sackler School of Medicine at the Tel Aviv University, believe that the issue of trauma from terrorism and war should be put on the public agenda and coping mechanisms offered.

The NATAL survey found that 11% of Israelis claim to been directly exposed to terrorist attacks since the outbreak of the El-Aqsa intifada in September 2000. 20.2% claim to have been indirectly exposed, through family or friends who have hurt.

83% of respondents tend to frequently check up on the safety of their dear ones, 80% use social support, 75% accept the situation and have adjusted to it, and 64% tend to seek information in the media.

Half the respondents admitted feeling that their sense of personal security was diminished, and felt that their safety and the safety of loved was threatened on a daily basis. While 82% of Israelis are optimistic about their future, only 56% are optimistic about the future of the country.

Founded in 1998, NATAL is based on the assumption that trauma from war and terrorism has unique characteristics. NATAL decided to hold today's conference following recent terrorist attacks in Beersheva, Sinai, the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv and elsewhere, as well as the kassam rocket attacks on Sderot. Another goal is to raise public awareness and debate on the issue of trauma.

At the conference, Prof. Zahava Solomon of the Tel Aviv University School of Social Work will present new studies that found that 15-19% of Israeli adolescents - both Jews and Arabs - and 37% of Palestinian adolescents residing the territories suffer from post traumatic disorders from exposure to terrorist attacks, requiring professional intervention.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on December 2, 2004

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