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Silent PTSD Terror Victims Struggle to Start New Life
According to statistics published by the Israel Security Agency at the end of 2013, since the start of the second Intifada, 1,227 people have been killed by Palestinian terrorism and 8,549 were wounded.
But this doesn't account for people who were injured psychologically. A recent study found that 9.6 percent of Jewish residents in Jerusalem who directly experienced terrorism and 6.7 percent of those indirectly exposed to terrorism suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Unfortunately people are not aware of the seriousness of this condition. "Since these people are not physically injured, people are not compassionate to their suffering. But shock and PTSD can also be very debilitating problems," Aryeh Weingarten, founder and director of Karmey Chesed, a well-known non-profit organization in Israel, told Breaking Israel News.
The individuals who suffer from PTSD are not the only victims of this disorder. This is the case of Rachel Rosen and her family following a terror attack in Jerusalem on August 19, 2003, in which 23 people were killed and over 130 were injured.
On that night, Chaim and Rachel Rosen were celebrating the Bar Mitzvah of a family friend. "The explosion happened during the Bar Mitzvah," Chaim told Breaking Israel News. "We walked outside during a break and witnessed the bus explosion. Pieces flew hundreds of feet into the air. We raced back into the hall and hid as there was a fear of another terrorist being in the hall. My wife went into shock, pretty much on the spot, but I had no idea what shock was. Later that night we saw a psychologist, who explained that she was shock."
Since then Rachel has not been able to work and her state of health has steadily declined. This has taken a heavy toll on them financially. "Managing the household, being the father and mother, as well as the breadwinner has been very difficult, as I have to pretty much do all of it at the same time that I am taking care of her," Chaim explained.
Slowly the Rosen family went into deep debt. Unable to pay back a loan of 85,000 NIS (about $22,250), Chaim fell into default. The family was in danger of the bank repossessing their home.
They turned to Karmey Chesed for help. "We managed to bring the loan down from 85,000 NIS to 30,000 NIS (about $7,850), and were able to raise enough money to pay off most of the remaining debt," shared Weingarten. "Of course, we continue to assist them as there is a continual need."
On December 20th, the Rosens' daughter will marry. "We are really struggling to try and give my daughter a new beginning in life," Chaim told Breaking Israel News. "We need to raise money for the young couple in order to provide them with a respectable base to build on. Currently we cannot even pay for the wedding hall, let alone all of the things that come with it, like the food, and the band."
"We are hopeful that the money will be raised for the wedding and pray that this dark story will have a silver lining," said Weingarten. "With God's help, Karmey Chesed, hopes to help all those who come our way."
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