A Study in Contrasts, Israeli and Kuwaiti Treatment of Traumatized Syrians
(posted on February 27th 2018, by Aboud Dandachi)
In 2015, at the height of the exodus of Syrian refugees to countries in the West, the wealthy Arab Gulf countries were very conspicuous in their refusal to take in any Syrian refugees. Indeed, Kuwait used the fact that many of these refugees would be suffering from psychological issues from the trauma of the war, as an excuse to shirk any and all responsibility for their care. Such was the composition and attitude of the group of nations that labeled itself “Friends of the Syrian People”.
Fast forward to 2018, and it took a very enterprising bit of reporting by Daniella P. Cohen over at The Medialine, to bring to light yet another aspect of Israel’s already astonishing and unprecedented care and aid to Syrian victims of the war. In addition to providing treatment to Syrian wounded, cancer patients, and children with hearing disabilities, Israel apparently is even going so far as to provide treatment to Syrians suffering from trauma and other psychological issues.
Israel’s Galilee Medical Center has treated over 2,300 Syrians, forty percent of whom were women and children. In addition to the expected trauma of war, some Syrians arrive at the center unconscious. The shock of finding themselves being treated in an Israeli hospital by Israeli medical staff has been so profound that the center has setup a procedure to acclimatize new patients to their unexpected surroundings.
“Hana Solomon, Director of the Social Work Department at the Galilee Medical Center, stated that while most of the Syrians at the center have “never had the serious problem of classic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there have been those experiencing suicidal tendencies and acute stress reactions. We have had children with depression who were seen by our psychiatrists.” ”
This at a time when even most universal health care plans in better off societies don’t even cover therapy. While the “Friends of Syria” may be content to occasionally write a few cheques for tents to house Syrian refugees indefinitely, Israel continues to astonish, astound and amaze with its incredible humanitarian efforts to a people from a country to which the term “friend” could never have applied since those two countries came into being. Israel’s humanitarian efforts are as ground breaking as they are under reported by most of the world’s media. Medialine isn’t a well known name among media outlets, but to their credit they have reported on an amazing aspect of Israel’s aid to Syrians.