Inside Israel

Israeli Mental Health Experts Expect Influx of PTSD

Israel is expecting a massive influx of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases in the coming months as a result of what people saw or experienced from the horrific October 7 massacre. Some soldiers fighting in Gaza will likely also develop PTSD. Israeli psychology experts say a cautious estimate predicts 30,000 new cases of PTSD. Before October 7, the health care system was already strained, with long waiting times for patients to see a psychologist. PTSD is a difficult-to-treat mental health condition with symptoms possibly including flashbacks to terrifying events like the atrocities Hamas committed or combat. Patients may also experience “nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about what happened.”

The Health and Finance Ministry recently released 386 million dollars to boost mental healthcare resources in Israel. One of the largest clinics for PTSD treatment will be the new National Center for Traumatic Stress and Resilience at Tel Aviv University. The building is scheduled to be finished in 2026. However, in the aftermath of October 7, staff realized they needed to start seeing patients sooner. Yair Bar-Haim, head of this new center and a professor of psychology and neuroscience, said,

[When the war came] I realized we should open our clinic early and gear it mostly towards treating the people who came back from the war, and civilians who were affected. There’s a huge need for this treatment. The university provided us with alternative temporary space and strong financial backing so we were able to open on January 1.

Please pray for those who are struggling or will struggle with PTSD.

Read more at The Times of Israel . . .

Evacuated Child Finds Coin from the 80s BCE

2,000 year old Hasmonean coin found by a kibbutz evacuee (Source: Israel Antiquities Authority)

A young boy, age eleven, has been living in a hotel along the Dead Sea since October 7. His family and kibbutz evacuated after the horrific actions of Hamas, who came to destroy their homes, kill, and take hostages. Nati Toyikar likes to explore the paths around the hotel after school. One day, he found a coin and excitedly turned it over to the Antiquities Authority. Archaeologist Alex Freiberg came to the hotel to meet Nati, give him a certificate, and encourage the other children to report similar finds.

This sort of coin was minted in large quantities in the 80s BCE. Its Greek inscription says, “(of) Alexander the King,” referring to the Hasmonean king and high priest Alexander Janai (104–76 BCE). The Hasmoneans were Jewish leaders who ruled Israel after the Maccabean Revolt until the region became a Roman province. Hasmonean rule reached its height of power and territory during Yanai’s reign. The king’s soldiers were paid with these coins, which also paid for the strengthening of nearby fortresses like Masada and Qumran.

Please pray evacuated children living in hotels will be encouraged and strengthened while separated from their homes and routines.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post . . .

Heroic Soldier Saves Lives

Hanania Ben-Shimon (Source: YNet News)

Last week, terrorists opened fire on a traffic jam near the West Bank. The terrorists exited their vehicle and opened fire on stationary cars. They severely wounded a pregnant woman and several others. Hanania Ben-Shimon, age twenty-three, was traveling with his mother and exited the car as soon as the commotion started. He shot and neutralized a terrorist. In the process, he was shot in his abdomen and thigh. He was recently released from reserve duty after serving four months in Khan Younis. A friend of Hanania called him a hero and said, “Hanania is the beautiful face of Israel. He returned last week from fighting in Khan Younis after several months in Gaza, obtained a firearm license to save lives, and started working as a tour security guard.”

Please pray for Hanania’s recovery and return to a normal routine after four months of fighting in Gaza and last week’s heroic events.

Read more at YNet News . . .

Israelis Flock to Bible Study in Tel Aviv

As Israelis settle into routines and schedules almost five months after everyone’s lives were turned upside down, our staff are noticing a tremendous need to meet, talk, tell stories, and laugh. Every seat is full at most of the events at our ministry center in Tel Aviv. People want fellowship, godly conversations, and connection. One person was especially eager to study the Scriptures at a recent Bible study. She was disappointed when we could not continue to the next chapter—it was already 10 pm! Everyone in the Bible study group was dedicated to studying, asking questions, listening, and praying together. It has been a marvelous few weeks to dive into the Word. By the way, the lady mentioned is not yet a believer, and it was her first time reading from the New Testament!

Please pray for continued Bible studies and spiritual growth for all!