‘You are in a safe place’: Israel prepares to embrace hostages

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Hostages taken by Palestinian militants will need extensive psychological support, experts say.

Hostages taken by Palestinian militants will want intensive psychological help, specialists say.

JERUSALEM – “I’m right here to take you residence. You’re in a safe place” – Israeli troopers are fastidiously making ready to obtain doubtlessly traumatized ladies and kids as they are seized by Palestinian militants .

From a trauma care guide to medical help, even the primary phrases spoken by the troopers being escorted residence are fastidiously scripted, and specialists warn many may face a lengthy highway to restoration.

During a four-day ceasefire agreed by Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, 50 of the roughly 240 hostages held by the militants are to be freed in change for 150 Palestinian prisoners.

The first of them is to be handed over on Friday, after about seven weeks in captivity in a conflict panorama.

At the request of the Israeli authorities, youngster abuse specialists from the Haruv Institute in Jerusalem ready detailed pointers on how to deal with the minors as soon as they are launched.

“When the soldier hits the kid,” reads the guide, seen by AFP, they need to introduce themselves politely and provide soothing assurances equivalent to “I’m right here to deal with you”.

Aside from speedy medical assist, they are inspired to discover and produce a kid’s favourite meals, be it pizza or rooster schnitzel.

If that’s not identified, the guide asks that they carry primary gadgets equivalent to bread, cheese and fruit.

With a lot of them having misplaced relations when Hamas launched the deadliest assault in Israeli historical past on October 7, troopers are instructed to ask the youngsters questions in regards to the destiny of family – even when the solutions are identified at them.

“Each query should be answered as follows: ‘My job is to take you to Israel, to a safe place, the place folks you already know might be ready for you and can reply your questions to one of the best of your means. all.”

It recommends a “complete ban” on any media contact with the youngsters instantly after their launch.

The guide drew on the expertise of victims in different hostage conditions together with victims of the Islamist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, mentioned Ayelet Noam-Rosenthal, one of many authors.

“We want a frequent language of trauma-knowledge for the youngsters coming again,” mentioned Noam-Rosenthal AFP.

“We should do every thing to do no hurt,” she mentioned, “to trigger additional trauma.”

– ‘A darkish and scary place’ –

Israeli specialists warn that there are too many unknowns in regards to the hostages to assess what sort of help might be wanted.

“No one is aware of whether or not youngsters and their mother and father might be launched collectively or individually,” mentioned Moty Cristal, a retired Israeli navy officer skilled in hostage negotiations.

“We do not know if ladies confronted sexual violence in captivity,” he advised AFP.

“Given the barbaric nature of the assaults and captivity we are able to solely put together for the worst,” he mentioned.

Relatives of the hostages are campaigning relentlessly in Israel and around the globe for his or her launch, holding public demonstrations, urging world officers to assist them and persevering with a vigorous media marketing campaign.

AFP confirmed the identities of 210 of the roughly 240 folks kidnapped on October 7 throughout Hamas cross-border assaults on navy posts, communities and the Desert music pageant.

At least 35 of these taken hostage had been youngsters, 18 of whom had been 10 years outdated or youthful on the time of the Hamas assault.

“In some circumstances, youngsters had been taken moments after watching their mother and father being brutally murdered,” Zion Hagai, chairman of the Israel Medical Association, advised the media.

“They are not solely compelled to stay with this trauma however to expertise it in a unusual, darkish and scary place.”

– ‘Beyond creativeness’ –

One of the youngest hostages is Kfir Bibas, a boy who was solely 9 months outdated when gunmen snatched him from Nir Oz kibbutz close to the Gaza border, alongside together with his four-year-old brother Ariel and his mother and father Yarden and Shiri.

Shiri is seen in a video from the day of the assault that the household noticed, holding her youngsters in her arms whereas gunmen surrounded her.

Some of the youngsters in captivity had birthdays.

At least 68 of these kidnapped had been ladies, a lot of whom had been over 80 years outdated.

The Haruv Institute guide in addition to well being officers warn that professionals who provide help themselves are prone to trauma.

Ofrit Shapira-Berman, a psychoanalyst and professor at Hebrew University, mentioned she met a teenage boy at a sufferer counseling session Oct. 7 who heard his mother and father and two sisters screaming on the cellphone earlier than they had been murdered.

“I’m simply sitting there and making an attempt to take one thing out of my expertise to assist him,” she mentioned in a web based video, including that the boy and different victims “we’ll want for a few years lengthy.”

“I do my finest,” she mentioned, “after which I’m going out and begin crying as a result of it is past creativeness.”

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