BGU PREPARED Center to Conduct Stress Study
November 4, 2019
BREAKING ISRAEL NEWS — Prof. Limor Aharonson-Daniel and Dr. Stav Shapira of BGU’s PREPARED Center for Emergency Response Research and School of Public Health will conduct a study to evaluate resilience among 18-year-old men and women from communities near the Gaza border.
For more than a decade, Israelis who live in these communities have suffered thousands of Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks and numerous terrorist incursions. Thus, for 18-year-old men and women from this area, being exposed to danger is a way of life, and this situation can take an emotional and physical toll on residents of all ages.
The PREPARED Center, which Aharonson-Daniel founded and directs, conducts cutting-edge research to increase knowledge and preparedness for states of medical emergency and disaster. Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, the team will investigate how Israeli soldiers cope with stressful and dangerous situations and what resources they can call upon.
Through in-depth interviews, they will explore how this distress presents itself. Equipped with this information, the researchers, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the regional councils will develop a program to boost resiliency among the youth of the Gaza border communities.
Between March 2018 and August 2019 alone, eight Israelis were killed and 282 were wounded in terrorist action from Gaza. There were 25 shootings, more than 2,200 fires ignited by arson kites/balloons and 8,747 acres of land – farmland, forests, nature reserves – burned.
The unique circumstances of an upbringing under years of rocket fire and rushing to bomb shelters, sometimes many times a day, compounds the challenges when these residents start military service. The Eshkol Regional Council reached out to BGU because they have noticed an increasing number of cases of draftees experiencing significant distress at the start of their military service, which – in and of itself – is a stressful period. The research will be conducted in conjunction with all of the Gaza border communities and the Mental Health Branch of the IDF.