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Individual and Societal Reactions to Ongoing Terror in Israel

Wiener, Zeev MD

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Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada until the end of 2003, belligerent acts have led to the deaths of more than 275 members of the security forces and above 650 civilians; more than 1700 members of the security forces and above 4400 civilians also sustained injuries. Data from Israel and around the world shows that, during the first few days following a terror attack, those directly or indirectly exposed will develop a wide range of symptoms of a depressive and/or anxious nature, which will disappear spontaneously after a few weeks or months. A minority at risk will develop posttraumatic stress disorder, with accompanying psychiatric morbidity, particularly anxiety and depression. In recent years, Israelis have faced an increasing level of anxiety regarding their personal security, and have become more pessimistic regarding the prospects of securing national security in the wake of the terrorist attacks sustained since September 2000. In spite of that, data show a surprising level of optimism and communal resilience, which deserves explanation.

Physicians for Human Rights, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Corresponding author: Zeev Wiener, MD, Physicians for Human Rights, 52 Golumb St, Tel Aviv 66171, Israel (e-mail: zeevw@netvision.net.il).

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.