web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


A Generation of Children Growing in the Shadow of Gaza’s Terror Rockets

Almost half of Sderot’s preteens suffer from signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Ashkelon residents spend nights in bomb shelters.

Ashkelon residents spend nights in bomb shelters.
Photo Credit: Noam Bedein, Sderot Media Center

Almost half of Sderot’s preteens suffer from signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study that was published this November in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Based on a questionnaire answered by 154 seventh and eighth grade students, it was found that 43.5 percent of the children demonstrated clinical signs of PTSD.

The survey, which was conducted in 2007-2008 during a time period when thousands of rockets had been fired towards Sderot, was directed by a team led by Dr. Rony Berger, a clinical psychologist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Dr. Berger is also the community services director of NATAL, the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, which released a report in 2011 that 70% of all Sderot children suffer from at least one symptom of post-traumatic stress, and that 50% continue to relive rocket trauma.

Idan Bitton, a 25-year-old student at Sapir college, spoke with Tazpit News Agency this week, relating how life had changed for him when the rockets from Gaza began striking Sderot 10 years ago. “Suddenly, in the middle of class, we would hear a rocket explosion,” he explained. “There was no Code Red [rocket alarm system] then, so we had no idea when the rockets would land in our city.”

Fifteen-year-old Odaya of Sderot after rocket attack on her neighbor's home, Sunday, November 18.

Fifteen-year-old Odaya of Sderot after rocket attack on her neighbor’s home, Sunday, November 18. Photo: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency.

“I remember as a student in school, hearing an explosion, and then continuing on in class as if nothing happened. This was a mistake,” emphasized Bitton. “In a way, our passive reaction gave legitimacy that those rocket attacks against us were OK, even acceptable.” Bitton says that the rockets attack dramatically affected his friends. “Most of my friends from high school didn’t stay in Sderot or the south– they moved to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It was a kind of ‘flight’ reaction to the rockets,” he explains.

But Biton says that he learned in the army how to respond, and take on the ‘fight’ approach. “In the army when I trained to become an officer, I learned how to respond effectively in an emergency situation, and how to take on bad situations and turn them around.”

“It all begins with your attitude and approach,” he said.

But for Idan’s 12-year-old brother, the fear still remains. “My brother was born into the rockets, he doesn’t know anything else. He associates the color red with the rocket warning system.”

“Last week, when I brought my brother to school, he was trembling,” recalls Idan. “He was simply too scared to leave the car because of the rockets.”

“I feel lucky because I still got to enjoy my childhood until I was a teenager when the rocket strikes began—my brother never had one,” he said.

For 15-year-old Odaya of Sderot, the rocket attacks on her city hit very close to home, literally, this past Sunday, November 18, when Gaza rocket struck Odaya’s neighbor’s home. The soft-spoken teenager told Tazpit News Agency, that the rocket attack was “scary” and had left her in shock.

“I went into our family’s bomb shelter as soon as the Code Red siren went off,” she said. “And then as I was standing there, I heard the shriek of the rocket as it flew over our house, followed by a deafening explosion. I thought the rocket had fallen on our home.”

The rocket, which slammed into the roof of Odaya’s neighbors’ house, sent pieces of shrapnel and glass everywhere, reaching also Odaya’s home. The neighboring family was away at the time of the attack, but for Odaya, the experience was scarring.

Elsewhere in southern Israel, children continue to remain targets of Gaza rocket attacks.

In Ashkelon on Sunday, November 18, a group of Ethiopian children experienced a rocket attack on their apartment building, which left two residents wounded and a gaping hole in the ceiling and floor of two apartments.

“The roof exploded open,” six-year-old Eli triesto explain. “We all heard the rocket boom.” Eli and his teenage cousins, Eden and Stav, have been living in the public bomb shelter of their run-down apartment building for five days, since Wednesday, November 14. Beds, blankets, and canned foods pack their shelter. Their mothers’ faces are lined with worry.

With school cancelled due to the security situation, approximately 30,000 children in Ashkelon have little to occupy themselves with except to wait out the rocket strikes from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups in Gaza. “Our family wants to move to Petach Tikvah until the rocket attacks are over,” said Eden. “We have family there and it would be safer.”

For many Ashkelon children, the Iron Dome, which intercepts long-distance rockets with much more precision than short-distance rockets (like those fired at Sderot) has instilled a sense of security.

According to Dr. Asher Solomon, the Deputy Director of Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center, more than 70% of Ashkelon’s kids will not be psychologically affected for the long-term because of the rocket attacks. However, according to Solomon in an interview on Jewish News One, 30% of Ashkelon children will show signs of PTSD.

Even for children and teenagers who haven’t experienced a rocket attack in cities like Jerusalem, the experience of a rocket siren can be frightening. Four rockets have been fired towards the capital of Israel in the past five days, and all have landed south outside of the city.

Ya’arit, a ninth grader in a Jerusalem school told Tazpit News Agency, that the siren alert on Friday evening, November 16, caught her and her mother as they were driving. “It was scary, because we didn’t know what to do,” she said. Other students described hearing the sirens blaring across Jerusalem, as stressful, and for others still, exciting.

But for six and half year old Dvir in southern Israel, the rockets spawn one main terror. According to his mom, Dvir recently told her that he fears he will never grow old.

Ethiopian children spend their fifth day in Ashkelon bomb shelter, Sunday, November 18.

Ethiopian children spend their fifth day in Ashkelon bomb shelter, Sunday, November 18.

About the Author: Anav Silverman is a regular contributor to Tazpit News Agency.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “A Generation of Children Growing in the Shadow of Gaza’s Terror Rockets”

  1. Rivkale Yacob says:

    WHAT PRAY TELL DID OBAMA DO FOR THESE CHILDREN IN HIS FIRST 4 YEARS. OH THATS RIGHT, HE WAS BUSY BOWING TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND SAUDI KINGS

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
One-third of polled Republicans see President Obama as the biggest imminent threat to the USA.
One-Third of GOP Voters See Obama Worse for US than Assad and Putin
Latest News Stories
One-third of polled Republicans see President Obama as the biggest imminent threat to the USA.

A Reuters poll shows that America is increasingly polarized, especially about President Obama.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continued to lash out at a possible “bad deal” with Iran Monday and said, “The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary – that Iran’s aggression is to be rewarded.” Netanyahu said in a statement: The moderate and responsible […]

Jerusalem resident and Israeli citizen Khalil Adal Khalil arrested for joining the ISIS.

Release of a gag order reveals that the Israeli citizen and a friend traveled to Syria last year.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

Lausanne has become the center stage of act that would put the world’s best novelist or Broadway producer to shame.

Inspections of Iranian nuclear sites won’t uncover possible nuclear activity in North Korea, or even China.

Colel Chabad and IFCJ have made sure thousands of Israelis will celebrate Passover with good food this year.

Former Secy of State Hillary Clinton says she wants to see US-Israeli relations on a “constructive footing” and Israel negotiating with the PA.

A rocket launched from Gaza landed in the Sinai, in the Egyptian half of the town of Rafiach (Rafah).

Rami Levi’s operating and net profit suffered from a 12% increase in the costs of selling, marketing, general and administrative expenses.

Matzah baking isn’t all just hard work. Sometimes it can be fun too.

Today on the Hebrew calendar is the 10th of Nisan – the day the People of Israel crossed into their new Land.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert found guilty of fraud and breach of trust in a retrial in the ‘Talansky Affair.’

Iran suddenly refuses to transfer its already enriched uranium, despite prior agreement.

The PA chose practical self interest (survival) and is backing down from its unilateral threats.

A man makes his cooking pots kosher for Passover by dipping them into boiling water, in a process called Hagala.

Israel’s Government Building Becomes ‘Greenest Parliament’ in the World

More Articles from Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency
Solar panels on the roofs of Israel's Knesset.

Israel’s Government Building Becomes ‘Greenest Parliament’ in the World

Ukrainian Olim at Ben Gurion Airport on March 24, 2015

With one week to go before Passover, 110 new Ukrainian immigrants landed in Israel on Tuesday morning, March 24. The majority of newcomers are refugees who fled the fighting zones in the eastern part of the Ukraine including the husband of a woman killed by a direct rock hit that slammed into their house in […]

While the antisemites celebrate “Israel Apartheid Week”, a local survey found that 65% of Israeli-Arabs are proud to be Israeli.

The employees of Israel’s Knesset are also completing preparations as they bid farewell to those Knesset Members leaving and welcome new members to Israel’s parliament building.

Wein’s artwork depicting his journey to recovery recently won first place in a unique art competition.

How the volume made its way from a 17th-century Frankfurt printing press to finding its twin in Haifa is a fascinating story.

The app placed first among 800 other nominees as the contest, which has been described as the Oscars for the mobile world.

It was probably the first time that the marble relief portrait of Moses hanging in the House Chamber ever received such public acknowledgement.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/a-generation-of-children-growing-in-the-shadow-of-gazas-terror-rockets/2012/11/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: