A social worker, paying a routine visit to an elderly couple, was shocked to find them huddled together on a sofa - terrified and wearing bicycle helmets.
The couple were Holocaust Survivors living in the seaside town of Ashkelon in Israel. At the time, over 100 rockets had been fired on the town from Gaza in one week. A few days earlier, the couple had assured the same social worker that they were doing fine and didn't need any help. But the reality was that the trauma of relentless air raid sirens had triggered memories from their childhood in the Holocaust and had left them desperate to do something to protect themselves. Physically unable to run down to the public bomb shelter, they had bought bicycle helmets in the vain hope it would protect them from a rocket attack.
|Elderly Israelis run for cover during air raid siren|
impossible for the elderly. Now mostly in their 70's, 80's and 90's, many of the Survivors are afraid to go out to the shops to buy their groceries because of the possibility of an air raid happening while they are out. During these times, the emotional scars and fears from growing up in the Holocaust intensify and many suffer with the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress disorder.
|Running for shelter - rocket attack in Ashkelon|
It is also important to provide opportunities to get away from the stress of living under daily rocket fire. Hotel Gilgal in Tel Aviv, which is run by Messianic believers, recently invited Holocaust Survivors from Sderot (a town in the south of Israel near Gaza which has been under severe rocket attacks for years) to spend time in their seaside hotel for a time of respite and refreshing. They had heard that the elderly citizens were afraid to leave their homes to buy groceries, so at the hotel, a delicious feast awaited them on the roof terrace with stunning views over the Mediterranean.
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