HomeWorldIsrael's Holocaust survivors face escalating trauma as Gaza conflict intensifies, exacerbating their...

Israel’s Holocaust survivors face escalating trauma as Gaza conflict intensifies, exacerbating their pain.

Elderly Holocaust Survivors in Israel Face Trauma Amidst Conflict with Hamas

Survivors Relive Trauma Amidst Conflict

As night falls, Sarina Blumenfeld, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, is haunted by memories of the past. Living in Ashdod, a city frequently targeted by Hamas rocket fire, Blumenfeld struggles to process the recent violence that has claimed the lives of 1,400 people. She is one of many elderly survivors who endured the horrors of the Holocaust and are now facing the harsh reality of war once again.

Echoes of the Holocaust

The persecution of Jews in 20th-century Europe remains deeply ingrained in Israel’s collective memory. In response to Hamas’ assault, leaders at home and abroad have drawn parallels to the Holocaust. U.S. President Joe Biden referred to the event as the “deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust,” while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened Hamas’ actions to those of the Nazis.

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Anxiety Amidst Clashes

Rivkah Har Arieh, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor residing in Neot Mordechai near the Lebanese border, experiences anxiety due to the intense exchanges of fire between the Israeli military and Hezbollah fighters. Despite enduring the Holocaust and previous wars, Har Arieh finds the current situation overwhelming. She mourns the loss of innocent lives and the devastation caused by the conflict.

Suffering on Both Sides

With over 7,600 rockets fired towards Israel since the start of the conflict, the toll on both Israelis and Palestinians is devastating. Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza and launched airstrikes, resulting in the deaths of 5,791 Palestinians, including 2,360 children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Har Arieh acknowledges the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza but sees it as a consequence of Hamas’ actions.

The Struggles of Holocaust Survivors

Israel is home to 147,199 Holocaust survivors, with an average age of 85. Shelly Feigenblat, a social worker with the Foundation for the Welfare of Holocaust Victims, notes that the current war in Gaza has caused increased stress and anxiety among survivors. Some survivors are so depressed that they no longer seek shelter during rocket attacks, as they feel indifferent to their own survival. The trauma they experienced during the Holocaust is triggered by the comparisons made between the current conflict and the atrocities of the Nazis.

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The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has deeply impacted elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel. Their past trauma is resurfacing, and the violence and loss of life are causing immense distress. It is crucial to provide support and care for these survivors during this challenging time, acknowledging their unique experiences and the lasting effects of the Holocaust on their lives.

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