A recent study conducted by the University of Haifa reveals how the Gaza war has been affecting the mental health of Israelis living abroad.

Utilizing two operational scales to measure levels of mental wellbeing, the study found that 66.4% of Israelis residing abroad reported symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In contrast, only between 15% and 35% of Israel’s population conveyed PTSD symptoms in the aftermath of October 7.

Addressing this disparity, University of Haifa Professor Yael Mayer explains that in Israel terrorism is a part of everyday life.

“Our research shows that many Israelis living abroad experienced a series of complex emotions regarding the events of October 7 and its aftermath, with many reporting high levels of trauma that even surpass some figures seen in studies examining Israelis living inside the country,” she said.

“Here in Israel, we frequently address the concerns of victims and their immediate and extended circles. This study, though, reinforces the strong bonds Israelis abroad have with those in the country and that Israelis abroad were also extremely influenced by the October 7 attack.”

Israelis living in Italy and Great Britain reported the highest levels of anxiety during the war, at 54% and 43% respectively. When asked about the reasons for their distress, 43% of respondents cited concerns about the wellbeing of their relatives serving in the IDF, while 33% expressed worry for their families in general.

Eerily reminiscent of Jews living under Nazi Germany, the study also revealed that 91% of Israeli expats have been exposed to antisemitic harassment. A majority (56%) feel concerned about the safety of their children, 46% reported hiding visible Jewish symbols, while 66% expressed reluctance to go out in public over fear of being harassed for simply being Jewish.

Comments (0)