The Herzog Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma (ICTP) extends psychotrauma assistance in the immediate and long-term aftermath of traumatic events. In addition to its work in Israel, the ICTP, founded in 1989 by Dr. Danny Brom, collaborates with specialists around the world to develop and share its unique expertise.

Dr. Brom told me at the ICTP headquarters in Jerusalem shortly after he returned from Haiti that “It doesn’t take much to realize why Israelis, unfortunately, are experts in trauma and resilience. A history of wars and our ongoing struggle against terrorism has necessitated and facilitated much needed knowledge and experience in this area.”

The posters in Dr. Brom’s office, are testimony to the hardships and struggles that many Israeli’s have endured since Israel’s establishment. Between the years 1977-1984, during a wave of Ethiopian immigration to Israel, which culminated in Operation Moses, an Israeli airlift rescue mission, many immigrants, including entire families with little children undertook long and dangerous treks which often spanned whole months, from their homes in Ethiopian villages to temporary camps in Sudan where they were airlifted by Israeli planes. As a result of the difficulties of the journey and bad conditions, facing disease, hunger and attacks by bandits, approximately 4000 Beta Israel Ethiopians died on the way. Those that survived the journey arrived in Israel and had to cope with the drastic transition moving from rural life in Africa to a modern technology-driven country and society.

The ICTP works across sectors of Israeli society and also helps with tragedies abroad. In 2010, following a devastating earthquake in Haiti, the ICTP sent a team of specialists who helped establish a school based intervention program, which was adopted by local Haitian partners. The program trained teachers to strengthen the resilience of children and prepared local professionals to identify and treat youth suffering from psycho-trauma, a devastating and demoralizing result of these disasters.