Last month, our team at Vision for Israel hosted a Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebration for young adults who have suffered from terror attacks. By throwing a party, we allowed them to celebrate this major milestone when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Though they all have touching and tragic stories, one of the Bar Mitzvah boys, Ya’ir, had a story that stood out to us. He gave a speech at the President's house during the celebration. We wanted to share his story with you.
Though he is now 13, Ya’ir was injured in Sderot when he was 9. That day he went to a protected park in Sderot withhis mother and sisters. Ya'ir played with his friends in one area of the park while his sisters played in another area, and his mother sat with the other mothers. All of a sudden, a Code Red alarm sounded and all the children started running in panic. Because he was so young, Ya'ir didn't know what to do. He searched for his mother and could not find her. He began to cry, running everywhere to try and find her. Because of this, he did not have time to get into the mobile shelter. As he looked skyward, he saw the interceptions and heard the terrifying booms of the attack.
Although Ya’ir didn't suffer any physical harm, he was mentally injured. Any loud noise, like a plane in the sky or a motorcycle passing by, causes a stress reaction. He can’t shower without the door open, and can’t stay home alone because of his condition. Doctors believe that this is likely a case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
At first, Ya'ir's mother struggled to identify Ya’ir’s condition. However, after talking with her friends and hearing that their children suffered similar conditions after rocket attacks, she decided to get help for her son.
There were times before Ya'ir was injured that his mother went for a walk with the children where there wasn't a protected area. During these walks, if a Code Red siren sounded, Ya’ir’s mother would lay her children on the ground and lie down on top of them. Ya’ir will no longer go for these walks. His sisters are similarly hesitant, though they aren’t as traumatized as Ya’ir is. Not being able to find one’s mother in a time of crisis is truly traumatic.
Though Ya’ir’s story touched our hearts, it is unfortunately not the only such story we’ve heard. Thousands of children are terrorized every day by the violence and terror that surrounds Israel. Childhood wonder and freedom are being stripped away, as these children see how brutal and terrifying the world can be. Many of them are forced to grow up faster than they should.
Our mission at Vision for Israel is to protect as many of these children as possible. We have been providing mobile bomb shelters so that more people have access to protection. We offer food and financial support to families who have experienced terrorism. We even host Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations annually to ensure that these children have some happiness in their young lives.
All of the work that we do is made possible by you, our friends and sponsors. Without your regular donations and generous gifts, children like Ya’ir would define their lives only by violence, terrorism, and pain. Because of you, they can receive a bit of happiness and comfort despite what has happened to them.
As we enter 2022, please consider beginning or increasing your donation to Vision for Israel. It is because of our donors that we can support so many in need. If you wish to make a donation, you may do so here. We also accept Crypto, bank transfers, and many other alternative ways to donate.
May we be able to continue our work into this new year, and may the Lord bless and keep you.
Barry & Batya Segal