The headlines screamed ‘ROCKETS FALL SILENT’ followed by ‘CALM WAS RESTORED’

The reality, as Hadassah Hospital’s Professor Esti Galili-Weisstub tells us, is that while the first headline is a welcome statement of fact, the second lacks nuance.  And we ignore that at our peril.

While the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire has allowed Israelis to resume their lives, what it hasn’t done, and nor can it, is reverse the trauma that has caused distress to children living in the affected regions.

They are now our problem, because most parents lack the skills or the objectivity to mentor their children through this terrible experience.

It was by chance that Prof Galili was scheduled to come to Australia at the invitation of Hadassah Australia.  But the timing couldn’t be better.  We will hear first-hand from Israel’s most lauded child psychiatrist and teacher about the support systems needed, the long-term consequences for the community if immediate care isn’t offered, and the role that Hadassah Hospital’s expertise plays in truly returning calm to fractured young lives.

Prof Galili is Director of Paediatric Psychiatry at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Not only has she worked tirelessly throughout her professional life to support children impacted by violence, but she has brought her skill and experience to communities well beyond Israel’s borders, from Haiti and Berlin to Mexico City and Pittsburgh.

The Hadassah mission of community outreach began at the turn of last century and its pioneering work has continued to the present day. It should be no surprise that dealing with childhood trauma is one of the cornerstones of Hadassah, and Prof Galili has been personally responsible for creating the Jerusalem Crisis Intervention Center and co-founding the Israel Trauma Coalition.

We strongly urge you to hear Prof Galili during her brief visit to Australia. Together with University of Melbourne’s Professor David Forbes, one of Australia’s leading experts in PTSD, and Richard Bryant AC, Director of the UNSW Traumatic Stress Clinic, in Sydney, Prof Galili will address a public forum in Melbourne on May 19 and in Sydney on May 23. Both events are free and reservations are encouraged.

Ron Finkel AM

President, Hadassah Australia