A new report by the Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center indicates a major increase in the number of calls to its helpline and a steady increase in cases since the Gaza war in 2014.
Released Sunday, the report showed that more than 4,000 calls were made to the helpline in 2018, up 25 percent from 2017. Just this month, during two days of heavy rocket fire from Gaza, the hotline received 1,000-plus calls.
According to the report, kids and teenagers comprised approximately 25 percent of the Israelis contacting the organization for help. While civilians made up 45 percent of callers in 2018, discharged Israel Defense Forces soldiers aged 21 to 34 made up another 45 percent, with the final 10 percent comprised of older IDF PTSD sufferers.
Of the IDF callers, the Trauma Center noted that 90 percent of the discharged soldiers it treats are not recognized by the Israeli Defense Ministry as suffering from PTSD or other trauma-related conditions. Approximately 65 percent of calls came from areas vulnerable to Gaza rockets, with another 12 percent coming from those threatened by Hezbollah in Israel’s north.
The report found that the weekly “March of Return” riots along the Israel-Gaza border have been a major trigger for calls.
More than 1,000 rockets have been launched at Israeli communities in the past year, and over 20,000 since 2001, not to mention incendiary balloons and kites which have landed in public parks, playgrounds, and burnt thousands of acres of agricultural, natural wildlife and forest lands.