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

February 29, 2024

ITC update: Operation Iron Swords

ITC updates are now sent weekly on a Thursday.
Day 146
Thursday 29.2.24

The number of IDF soldiers killed since the start of the ground op has risen to 242.
Two people were killed Thursday night, in a terror shooting attack near the Judea and Samaria settlement of Eli.

Following initial talks with US, Egyptian, and Qatari mediators in Paris, an Israeli team has been dispatched to Qatar to continue negotiations, which could lead to the release of hostages. The deal would allow for a six-week ceasefire, the release of 40 hostages including women, children, female soldiers, the elderly and injured and the release of hundreds of Palestinians convicted for terrorist offences currently held in Israeli prisons. Despite U.S reports of “guarded optimism”, current reports claim that Hamas has responded negatively to this proposed outline.

Amid the torture of conflicting reports, families of the hostages began a four-day march to Jerusalem from Kibbutz Re’im, the site where dozens of Nova partygoers were slaughtered and taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on October 7, vowing to fight until everyone returns, the living and the murdered.

Northern Front: This week has seen a ratcheting up of tensions between Israel and Hezbollah on the northern border. Sunday morning, four rockets were fired from Lebanon, landing in open areas. The rockets landed near Margaliot, and there were no reports of damage or injuries. Rocket warnings sounded in Kiryat Shmona, Ghajar and Sde Nehemia. Monday morning, a barrage of over 40 Katyusha rockets were fired at the Golan Heights. There were no reports of injuries. Monday and Tuesday, Hezbollah fired over 60 rockets at the Upper Galilee, with sirens sounding in Zivon, Sassa, Safsufa, and Dovev. Hezbollah announced that these rockets were targeted at the Mount Meron base.  Wednesday morning saw a barrage of 15 rockets on Kiryat Shmona causing damage to a building but no injuries.

Some 80,000 Israelis from the north remain internally displaced, and unable to return home due to on-going Hezbollah violence.

ITC on the Ground

Highlight on the North: A recent large-scale exercise conducted in Katsrin simulated scenarios involving shooting attacks and terrorist infiltrations. Integral to the exercise were the ITC trained volunteer neighborhood emergency teams. These teams used their training in psychosocial education to provide a population response, encompassing initial first emotional support for individuals affected by anxiety, including both civilians and security forces. They also provided vital information and instructions to residents, facilitated the isolation of the event area from onlookers, and assisted in maintaining secure perimeters between residences.

Additionally, they played a crucial role in ensuring a sense of security for educational institutions, such as kindergartens, and addressed the needs of residents with special requirements within the event zones. Their multifaceted contributions exemplified the importance of their ITC preparedness training and effectiveness in managing crisis situations.

In parallel, and against the backdrop of the escalation of tensions in the North, including Acco and Tsfat, ITC is continuing its work with Northern branches of the Welfare departments, providing hundreds of hours of emergency preparedness workshops including interpersonal communication and tools to strengthen personal resilience.

Bright Spot

Gap-year Israelis (“shin shinim”) are currently mentoring kids and youth impacted or displaced by war. Hundreds of High school graduates in pre-army volunteer programs are supporting children housed in hotels, organizing activities including arts, crafts, and a host of sporting activities. When schools reopened, they helped these children through the process, with a particular emphasis on those who have been identified by teachers as needing extra personal attention and mentoring, whether socially, emotionally, or academically. In addition, youth clubs have been established in several evacuee hotels. Some teens are having tremendous difficulty attending new schools and we are seeing an increase in risky behaviors such as drinking, violence and smoking because of the situation. These clubs provide a framework for these youth and most importantly someone to open up to who is close to their own age.

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

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