For emotional support by ITC organizations Eran – 1201 extension 6 | Natal – 1800-363-363

January 11, 2024

ITC update: Operation Iron Swords

ITC updates are now sent weekly on a Thursday.
Day 97
Thursday 11.1.23

The number of IDF soldiers killed since the start of the ground op has risen to 186.

The number of hostages in Gaza was revised and raised to 136. Three civilians who had been declared missing are now said to be hostages (one of whom was killed on October 7th and his body is being held captive). At least a third of the 136 hostages remaining in Hamas captivity suffer from chronic illnesses, each at immediate risk of death, according to a report published by the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum. Others suffer from illnesses related to the harsh captivity conditions, which include mental and physical torture.

Sunday January 14th will mark the 100th day of captivity with many campaigns organized to spread awareness.
The IDF has effectively begun to transition to phase 3 of the Gaza operation, which includes a gradual reduction of forces and a focus on the arenas of activity.

Northern Front: Both Israel and Hezbollah have stepped up their attacks and counterstrikes in southern Lebanon and northern Israel. As a result, air raid sirens sounded in 26 northern communities. Since the war began, 14 Israelis have been killed in northern Israel. In total, Hezbollah has carried out over 600 attacks. The damage would have been far higher on the Israeli side, if not for 42 communities that been evacuated, which includes 60,000 Israelis. In addition, over 20,000 have voluntarily left their homes in the north. The situation remains extremely precarious. 

Southern Front: Despite IDF advances, Hamas continue to fire rockets out of Gaza into Israel. 14 rockets were fired towards southern Israel early Monday evening. In total Hamas and other terror organizations have launched over 13,000 rockets and mortars since the war began.

ITC on the Ground

In response to escalation in the North, ITC experts are intensifying efforts to provide training for hundreds of Welfare teams, including Directors, psychosocial teams, and the like in provision of emotional first aid, delivering bad news and self-care tools. Workshops are held daily. The picture on the left is from a Tuesday training session with 140 participants.

Highlights from an interview in Israel21C of ITC therapist, from Sdot Negev Resilience Center: Esther Marcus

Resilience counselor Esther Marcus. Photo by John Jeffay

Esther spent October 7 sheltering in her safe room from the Hamas terrorists who had infiltrated Kibbutz Alumim. Throughout that time, she was receiving calls to the resilience center hotline from desperate people seeking help, information, and reassurance. Having survived the nightmare of Oct 7th, Marcus’ job now is to expand the network of resilience centers across Israel to cope with the surge in demand and the displacement of over 200,000 people – including Marcus herself.
Resilience, Marcus said, “is about holding it together and letting go of things at the same time and it’s about regaining your balance, being aware of your emotions and your physical reactions and dealing with hard questions, knowing that you may not find all the answers.” Marcus and her team guide clients to make the best use of tools they already have.
“What we do is based on solution-focused, short-term therapy, where we help people identify what they can do, how they can help themselves with their breathing techniques, or learning how to discharge tension,” she said.
The challenges they face with clients are on a new and unprecedented scale. 
“It’s about accepting that things may never be 100%. But 70% is 100%” .

Filipino volunteers on an Israeli farm. Photo by Brian Noe

A Bright Spot: Through a ground-roots operation, organized by Filipino caregivers, hundreds now spend their free Saturdays assisting Israeli farms. The initial obstacle was finding a way to reach the farms on a Saturday. Their employees pitched in with donations to hire a bus. The sum raised was way more than what was needed, and the group was able to go back the following week as well. Around 50 Filipino volunteers participated on a recent weekend.

Thanks for all your support. We will keep you updated.

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During routine and in times of emergency, the Israel Trauma Coalition is here for you.

Also available by phone: 02-6722618 and email

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