The world has changed.
Now we are all one.
Israel, France, Belgium, and the U.S.A.
We are united in our ideals.
Those ideals' very existence rely on shared kindness and compassion.
In the face of darkness, the way to cope is to remain united and support each other.
Following a period of relative calm, last Thursday was the deadliest day since the outbreak of recent violence began. In the first attack of the day, 36-year-old Raid Halil bin Mahmoud, from the Palestinian village of Dura near Hebron, exploited his Israeli work permit and killed two Israelis. The second attack was a combined shooting and car-ramming attack and ended with heavy losses - the death of Yaacov Don, 49 of Alon Shvut, Shadi Arafa 40 of Hebron and Ezra Schwartz, 18, of Sharon, Massachusetts.
Ezra came to Israel as part of a study/volunteer program. He and his fellow students, based at a yeshiva in Beit Shemesh, were visiting the memorial established for the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered last summer. As part of the outing, they were distributing food packages to soldiers stationed in Gush Etzion, and that’s when the attack took place.
Between Oct 1 and Nov 22nd, 19 people have been killed, 180 wounded (21 seriously), and there have been 67 stabbings, 9 shootings and 8 car rammings.
In a separate attack last week, Hebron native Shadi Ahmad Matua opened fire on the Litman family near the Otniel Junction, killing Rabbi Yaakov Litman, 40, and his son Netanael, 18, while they were on their way to a pre-wedding celebration for their daughter and sister, respectively.
The week before, Jewish worshipers en route to the Cave of the Patriarchs were shot at by Palestinians.
The situation in Israel remains understandably tense following six weeks of terror attacks.
Terrorist attacks which had been primarily concentrated in greater Jerusalem have now spread to other locations in Israel, including Kiryat Gat in the South, Afula in the North, Tel Aviv and Gan Shmuel (near Hadera) and Raanana in the center of the country. None of these attacks showed any signs of waning.
Each attack leaves behind emotionally wounded people who suffer from anxiety and communities that struggle to cope.
Some people are still under the impression that these are merely individual events. Lone attacks. This is not the case. This is a series of events that together creates a far more significant impact - in addition to the actual number of people exposed to each attack, there is a sharp increase in the general sense of insecurity and concern throughout the country.
This is our new reality….
Populations at Risk
First Responders and caregivers are highly exposed to trauma. Although these dedicated professionals continue to provide essential services, many feel extremely apprehensive, experience trauma fatigue and anxiety, and therefore need our help. A heavy burden rests on their shoulders to provide ongoing assistance while constantly exposed to stress, the need to be prepared for the future, and attempting to cope with what has already occurred.
The elderly population is also of particular concern. We have been receiving calls from various caregivers throughout the country that many elderly residents are too afraid to leave their houses for fear of being attacked and finding themselves defenseless.
ITC abroad: Immediate Assistance to Paris
Grieving, worried and shaken, we immediately contacted colleagues in Paris and reached out to help, following news of the multiple attacks.
We have already trained 80 clinicians who work with OSE – the large Jewish welfare organization in Paris. From this group, 15 clinicians, trained in short term trauma-focused interventions, responded instantaneously, working in the hospitals on Friday night as the terror victims were brought in.
We are leading an effort with OSE, in partnership with JDC, to bring our Israeli resilience and training model to France, adapting it to the needs and culture of OSE of the French community. This model provides effective preparedness and response to security issues that affect the well- being of an entire community.
The next part of our collaboration is to position 20 clinicians to become trainers of school teams which will, in turn, teach preparedness and coping skills. The program will consist of both training and practice which will be implemented together in the schools. Although this portion of the program was initially scheduled for January, it will now be implemented immediately in the Jewish schools and offered by OSE to the community at large.
Currently, we are in contact with the Israeli Embassy in Paris to offer a wide array of assistance:
- Support the education system in preparing staff to deal with emergencies and the impact on students
- Support the health system including assistance in hospitals by organizing information on casualties and working with families on providing information and support. We also offered to train hospital support teams on focused trauma related short term interventions and coping with psychological trauma caused by terrorism.
- Assist first responder teams including police, firefighters and emergency assistance organizations
- Work directly with the City of Paris to bring to fruition our model of community resilience and emergency preparedness
Recent Terror Activity
The following is a list of recent terror activity since our last update. It includes attacks as well as thwarted attacks that were prevented by stringent security.
We will keep you updated on the current events as they unfold and our continued response.
Kfar Adumim: Palestinian taxi driver tried to ram his car into a group of pedestrians, after failing to hit anyone he got out of his car and attacked them with a knife. One man was wounded. Less than an hour before that, the former head of the Samaria regional council, Gershon Mesika, helped thwart a stabbing attack at the Samaria junction, at the southern entrance to Nablus in the West Bank. Mesika, who saw a female terrorist trying to stab civilians ran her over with his car.
Gush Etzion Junction: Hadar Buchris, 21, of Safed, killed in a stabbing attack.
Kiryat Gat: Four people, including a 13 yr old girl, were wounded in a stabbing attack.
Tel Aviv: Two people killed and one wounded in a stabbing attack during afternoon prayers. The victims: Rabbi Aharon Yesayev, 32 and Reuven Aviram, 51.
Gush Etzion: Three people killed when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire with a submachine gun at cars at the Alon Shvut junction. The victims: Ezra Schwartz, 18 of Sharon Massachusetts, Yaacov Don, 49 and Shadi Arafa 40. Four others were also wounded in the attack.
Otniel (Route 60): Rabbi Yaakov Litman 40 and his son Netanel 18, were killed in a shooting attack while driving near Otniel south of Hebron. His wife and four other children in the vehicle were wounded.
Jerusalem: Two Palestinian youths (11 & 14) on their way home from school stabbed a security guard on the Jerusalem light rail. Shortly afterwards there was an attempted stabbing of a police officer near Damascus Gate.
Eliyahu checkpoint (near Alfei Menashe, northern Samaria): Palestinian woman attempts to stab guards.
Tapuah Junction (Samaria): Four Israelis wounded, two seriously in a car-ramming at a hitchhiking stop.
Beitar Illit (south of Jerusalem): A civilian security guard was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack.
Northern West Bank: An Israeli man seriously injured in a stabbing attack in the Palestinian village of Nabi IIyas when he stopped to shop at a stall.
-Border policeman Sgt Benjamin Yakubovich 19, critically wounded November 4th, died of his wounds.
Sha’ar Binyamin (north of Jerusalem): Israeli injured in stabbing outside supermarket.
Hebron: Two teens, 18 and 15 were injured in shooting attack. Short time later a soldier was severely injured in a shooting attack at the Beit Anun junction north of Hebron.
Gush Etzion: Attempted stabbing attack.
Halhoul junction (north of Hebron): Three Border Policemen were wounded in car-ramming attack.
Netanya: A 71 yr. old man was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack.
Rishon Lezion: Three people were wounded, two seriously including an 80 yr. old woman in a stabbing attack at a bus stop in the center of the city.
Gilboa, north of Jenin in the West Bank: Two Palestinians attempted to stab a soldier.
Hebron: Three Border Policemen wounded in car ramming attack. Earlier attempted stabbing attack of soldier during a violent riot.
Gilboa, north of Jenin: Palestinian,17, tried to stab guards.
Tapuach Junction (Samaria): Two terrorists on motorbikes attempted to stab border guards.
Jerusalem (French Hill): One person moderately injured in stabbing attack near light rail.
Hebron: A terrorist stabbed a soldier. Later, there was an attempted stabbing. In the evening, shots were fired from a passing vehicle towards a bus stop near Jerusalem.
Gush Etzion Junction: A woman stabbed outside a supermarket. Earlier, there was an attempted stabbing of a soldier.
Gush Etzion Junction: Soldier moderately wounded in stabbing attack.
Jerusalem: Terror attack foiled - two Arabs, 17 and 16, from East Jerusalem, armed with an axe and a knife, were arrested in center of town.