Israel’s Holocaust survivors struggle with Gaza war as trauma deepens

By Jonathan Saul

ASHDOD, Israel (Reuters) – When night time falls, Sarina Blumenfeld will get flashbacks from what she endured throughout the Holocaust and struggles to course of the carnage that came about when Hamas Islamists entered Israel from Gaza and killed 1,400 folks.

Blumenfeld, 89, is certainly one of tens of hundreds of aged survivors of the Nazi Holocaust who stay in Israel and are as soon as once more going through as much as the fact of struggle, with greater than 220 Israelis taken hostage in Gaza.

“This all jogs my memory of what we went by means of throughout the Holocaust and the way a lot we suffered,” Blumenfeld advised Reuters from her residence within the coastal metropolis of Ashdod, which is 40 km (25 miles) from Gaza and continuously a goal of Hamas rocket hearth.

The persecution of Jews in twentieth century Europe is seared into the collective reminiscence of Israel and since Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault, leaders each at residence and overseas have been fast to evoke recollections of the Holocaust, when the Nazis and their collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews throughout German-occupied Europe.

“I’d argue that it was the deadliest day for Jews for the reason that Holocaust,” U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned on Oct. 11, whereas Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned on Tuesday that Hamas had killed youngsters in the identical method the Nazis used to.

Rivkah Har Arieh, who lives in Neot Mordechai, which is 3 km from the Lebanese border within the north of Israel, mentioned she felt anxiousness due to the loud exchanges of fireplace between the Israeli navy and Hezbollah fighters.

“I went by means of the Holocaust and all of the wars, however it isn’t like earlier than, the noise is deafening. We should get used to even this,” the 92-year-old mentioned.

“I really feel uneasy, and for the individuals who had been murdered and made homeless, and all of the funerals on this land.”

Over 7,600 rockets have been fired in the direction of Israel since Oct. 7 out of Gaza, based on Israeli authorities information, whereas there have been repeated clashes alongside the northern border as tensions rise across the area.


Israel has imposed a complete blockade on Gaza and launched air strikes on the territory, killing 5,791 Palestinians up to now, together with 2,360 youngsters, Gaza’s Well being Ministry mentioned on Tuesday.

Har Arieh, who spent a part of World Conflict Two below home arrest in Bulgaria as a younger lady, with eight households compelled to stay in 4 rooms, mentioned she was conscious that Palestinians in Gaza had been struggling.

“It isn’t good for any of this to occur. No one desires this, however that is the consequence of what they (Hamas) did.”

Based on the most recent research revealed in April by the federal government’s Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority, there have been 147,199 survivors in Israel, with a median age of 85, together with 462 who had been over 100.

Many managed to climate the tough situations throughout the COVID pandemic, however the present struggle in Gaza has triggered new ranges of stress and anxiousness, mentioned Shelly Feigenblat, a Tel Aviv-based social employee with the Basis for the Welfare of Holocaust Victims, a non-profit organisation.

“A few of them do not even wish to go right into a bomb shelter. They’re so depressed, they do not care in the event that they stay or die,” she mentioned, including that all the things that had occurred was “positively a set off for PTSD” (Submit-Traumatic Stress Dysfunction).

“To say that it is worse than the Nazis, I feel that is the worst set off for a Holocaust survivor.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul, Rami Amichai and Amar Awad; Enhancing by Crispian Balmer and Gareth Jones)

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