As the Salomon family sits shiva, a week-long mourning period for three family members murdered in last Shabbat’s terror massacre, crucial steps are already in action to help and heal those affected by this shocking tragedy.
“Death is never easy,” David Rubin, founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, told Breaking Israel News. “However, it takes on a whole other emotional and sometimes even physical level when the death of loved ones comes at the hands of a terrorist who murders in cold blood. The need for therapeutic help and guidance must be provided as soon as possible to avoid lasting negative ramifications.”
The Salomons were sitting in their private home in Israel’s central town of Halamish celebrating the birth of a son on the evening of July 21 when terrorist Omar al-Abed entered their home and stabbed to death siblings Elad, 36, and Chaya, 46, as well as their 70-year-old father, Yosef.
Yosef’s wife, 68-year-old Tova, was also stabbed and is listed in serious condition at Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem. Images of the bloodsoaked home has shocked the nation. One can only imagine the level of shock of those closely involved with the tragedy.
“Unfortunately, Israel, and particularly those who live in its Biblical heartland, are not strangers to this type of tragedy,” continued Rubin. “After I was personally wounded in a terror attack, along with my young son, who was shot in the head, I recognized the need for immediate and long term trauma care for victims and those associated with victims and started the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund.”
Through Rubin’s two decades of experience dealing with trauma, it is clear that most adults can process their experience through counseling and are able to verbalize their thoughts and emotions. However, for children, healing is much more challenging, as kids often do not have the vocabulary or life-experiences to understand what has occurred.
“When children skip through the required time to process and express what they have been through, the trauma gets buried but never has a chance to heal,” explained Rubin. “This can lead to anxiety, aggression, panic attacks, depression, sleepless nights and worse, which can manifest for years.”
The impact of an isolated attack, like what occurred in Halamish, can affect not only the family or immediate neighborhood, but also all people residing in the Biblical heartland. Therefore, the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund has an emergency response team on call 24/7 which takes the lead when any tragedy strikes in Samaria. Their team is made up of the Director of the Therapy Center, psychologists, social workers, and representatives from the various therapies they provide.
It is a well-seasoned process. The Director of the Therapy Center immediately reaches out to the families directly linked to the terror victim(s), as well as to schools in the greater Shiloh area which may feel the impact of the tragedy. Professional teams visit schools and work with educational staff, giving workshops and allowing children to ask questions in an open, non-judgemental atmosphere. These counselors are well trained in knowing how to best handle the most challenging of situations.
Children receive continued monitoring by both the schools and families in order to recognize any lingering psychological issues to be dealt with. Children, who are especially traumatized, receive through the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund formal treatment therapies such as music, art, horseback riding, and animal therapy.
“Every case is evaluated on its own merit and each individual receives a customized healing plan,” shared Rubin with Breaking Israel News. “Some treatments may last for only a few months while others may last for years. The trauma victims receive the treatments at a subsidized rate in order to ensure that they get what they need to heal and have a productive future.”
The impact from being a terror victim can last a lifetime. However, when victims receive immediate help, they generally can go on to living healthy and successful lives and avoid behavioral, emotional, and physical setbacks.
“Unfortunately, people who live in Israel and particularly in the Biblical heartland live in a constant state of awareness that terror can strike at any moment,” noted Rubin. “I pray for the day when the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund might only support the celebration of weddings and the building of schools. In the meantime, we must continue to fulfill our mission, which is the easing of trauma in children in order that they may thrive in their lives and be the strength of Israel and her people.”
To donate to the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, please visit here.