On October 7, 2023, the entire population of Israel became trauma survivors.
For some of us, it was a reoccurrence.
In 2016, my father was murdered in a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, in what became one of the most documented, televised attacks in Israel.
We seldom hear about the strain this exposure puts on victims of national tragedies.
So let me walk you through the first 24 hours of the event.
👉 The first journalists arrived at the hospital mere hours after the attack to interview my traumatized mother, as my father was still fighting for his life.
The second batch arrived at our door at 7 am the next morning, a few hours after he passed away.
👉 The first thing I had to do when I entered the cemetery was ask a cameraman to leave. He was ‘kind’ enough to wait at the sideline and take pictures of the tombstone after we left. But other reporters infiltrated the funeral without our consent.
👉 The footage from the attack – including the video showing his murder – was broadcasted EVERYWHERE, from YouTube to the 8 o’clock news.
And that’s only the first 24 hours. Later came the long line of politicians, reporters, and political groups who appropriated our personal trauma for rating and votes.
Now imagine what the survivors of the October 7 massacre are going through.
I know national tragedies often feel like just that – national. They are a part of our collective identity, our need for community and belonging. But there are very real people behind these events – and for them, the private tragedy is already more than they can handle.
It took me years to understand the damage the media and the exposure did to my family and me, and I am still trying to make sense of it.
How can you help make a difference?
💡 Next time someone forwards you a video from a shooting, think carefully before watching and sharing. Are you watching it to satisfy your curiosity? Maybe you feel obliged to honor the victims or have survivor’s guilt?
Be conscientious of the way you handle graphic material. Traumatizing yourself won’t bring them back, and it certainly doesn’t make us feel better.
💡 Consider your words carefully when commenting on a national event from a political/social POV. It is NOT political for some of the victims.
💡 If you personally know someone who’s been through it, be respectful of their privacy. Don’t run around telling everyone ‘you know someone who.’ We are already so exposed, we do not wish to become a conversation starter at your next cocktail party.