update deskIsrael at War

Most Israelis abroad report post-Oct. 7 PTSD symptoms

According to a Haifa University study, more than 66 percent of Israelis living abroad experienced PTSD, with the highest levels of anxiety expressed by respondents living in Italy and Great Britain.

A rainy day in Jerusalem, May 6, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
A rainy day in Jerusalem, May 6, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Two out of every three Israelis living abroad experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in the two months after the outbreak of the war against Hamas in Gaza, a Haifa University study released on Tuesday found. 

According to the study, authored by Dr. Yael Mayer and Dr. Yael Enav, more than 66 percent of Israelis living abroad experienced PTSD, with the highest levels of anxiety expressed by respondents living in Italy and Great Britain.

When asked about the reasons for their distress, 43% of respondents said they were anxious about the wellbeing of their relatives in Israel serving in the IDF, while 33% said they were worried about their family in general.

In contrast, according to other studies cited by the authors, the figures are much lower among Israelis living in the country itself, where only 15% and 35% have reported PTSD symptoms post-Oct. 7.

Ninety-one percent of the Israelis abroad also reported that they were exposed to anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment in the two months immediately following Oct. 7, the study found. Forty-six percent said they have kept hidden any Jewish symbols, for fear of harm; 66% were said they were afraid to go to certain visibly Jewish or Israeli venues; 56% said they feared for their safety and the safety of their children; and 40% said they felt insecure in school or at work because of their Israeli identity. 

“Our research shows that many Israelis living abroad experienced a series of complex emotions regarding the events of Oct. 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,” said the authors of the study.

The study, which was conducted two months after the war began and surveyed 506 participants, did not cite a margin of error.

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