Juan, USA

September 22, 2011

I am currently an education policy analyst for the state legislature (Texas). However, my interests extend beyond the national level. I obtained my bachelor’s degree at Stanford University, a master of business administration in international trade degree from Texas A&M International University, and a master of international affairs degree from the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University.

I’ve read articles about the challenges involving mental health amongst the Palestinian people. What about in Israel? Do you find that the constant state of being on alert takes its toll on the Israelis? One would think that daily stress levels must be pretty high, is that the case? Thanks for sharing.

Hi Juan,

Please forgive me for taking so long to reply to you, I was away in reserve duty and only just returned. I’ve included your original message underneath as it’s been quite a while and it might make for useful reference!

There is certainly a mental toll on Israelis due to the conflict. Some Israelis live in a constant fear of violence, such as those in Sderot that are suffering trauma from rocket fire, some face PTSD problems from wars that they have fought in and there is little support offered up for them if they are reservists as they do not fall under the military’s mental health program and there is no VA in Israel. Almost everyone in Israel has been directly touched by the conflict, having lost a loved one or friend, having been subject to rocket attacks from Lebanon or Gaza, having been through war or having witnessed or survived a suicide bomb. At the very least, everyone knows someone that has been through these things.

However, Israelis seem to have learned to cope well. I’m not a psychologist, and I have no statistical data, but it seems to me that they work very hard to enjoy themselves and forget the conflict, even if it’s only for a short time. I do, however, think that there is an underlying level of trauma in the society, particularly from the Second Intifada, that influences behaviour and policy on a more national level.

Josh

Read more about PTSD in Jonah’s correspondence

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