Study: Disengagement Protesters Suffered Trauma Syndrome

The 2006 disengagement continues to have a major impact on Israeli society, a study shows

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David Lev,

Netzarim, just before Disengagement
Netzarim, just before Disengagement
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Seven years later, the disengagement that saw more than 10,000 Jews out of their homes in Gush Katif and northern Samaria continues to have a major impact on Israeli society. In a new study, Dr. Tal Har-Shoshanim of the Orot Yisrael Institute showed that many of the youths who were in Gush Katif at the time of the disengagement to protest – and were not residents themselves – suffered a similar level of “post-traumatic stress” as did youths who lived in Gush Katif.

The study included 500 religious youths, including students and graduates of schools in the National Religious system who were involved in some measure in protesting the disengagement. The participants were classified in four groups: Teenagers and young adults who were residents of Gush Katif at the time of the disengagement, individuals who present in Gush Katif at the time of the disengagement but did not live there, individuals who were involved in protests but were not present during the disengagement, and a group that was not involved at all.

The study found, as expected, that some 70% of the youths who were residents of Gush Katif suffered post-traumatic distress syndrome after they were thrown out of their homes. Har-Shoshanim expected that the other groups would show lesser levels of the syndrome, as they were more removed from the events – but was surprised to find that even among protesters who did not live in Gush Katif but were present during the disengagement, the level of stress was just as high as for residents.

Both groups said they felt significantly better today. The conclusion, said Har-Shoshanim, was that “the pain and joy of those who were present during the events feed on each other,” even for those who were ostensibly less involved in the events.