In addition to being the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar, for many people in Israel Yom Kippur brings back painful memories of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
On Yom Kippur of that year, Judaism’s annual Day of Atonement, a surprise attack was launched on Israel by Egyptian and Syrian forces in an attempt to capture the Golan Heights. Despite being caught off-guard and unprepared, the IDF responded swiftly and despite incurring heavy casualties, was victorious in defending the country.
Many people died in battle, and those who came home struggled to return to normal life and began developing what today we recognize as being symptoms of trauma. Unfortunately at that time, trauma was not understood and so in the name of surviving and “being strong,” many people regarded their symptoms as indicators of weakness and chose to hide them instead of seeking help. As a result, many of the surviving veterans of the Yom Kippur War continue to suffer from chronic PTSD today, often turning to NATAL’s various services for help.
The awareness campaigns that NATAL broadcasts each Yom Kippur are meant to remind the veterans of that war and their families, that help is available. Additionally it is used to reinforce the importance of seeking psychological assistance should trauma symptoms begin to arise in order to prevent them from becoming chronic.