Israel & Palestine – October 13 2023

SOS Children's Villages in Israel and Palestine grieve the loss of young people in their programmes

Children and young people connected to SOS Children’s Villages in Israel and Palestine are among the victims of the escalating violence.

Sigal, a graduate of the SOS Children’s Village Neradim in Arad, was killed while enjoying a music festival in Reim. Sigal, 26, is an older sister to two sisters and a brother. Sigal grew up in the village from the age of 6 to the age of 18 together with her two sisters.

From the day she and her sisters lost their mother, Sigal replaced her. Shlomi, the education coordinator in the village, says: "She acted like a mother even though she herself was a child. She always took care of her sisters. Despite the difficulties she never gave up."

Sigal's younger sister still lives in the children’s village and feels like she lost her mother once again. She is surrounded by her siblings and friends. The staff provides her with professional support and a lot of love.

In Palestine, a child from a family supported through our family strengthening programme was killed and two more children are in intensive care. A 22-year old man who participated in the SOS Children’s Villages employability programme YouthCan! and was studying accounting, was killed alongside four members of his family.

In the youth apartments in Israel, the brother of two youngsters was killed in one of the settlements that were attacked in the south. SOS Children’s Village’s staff ensure the youngsters receive mental health support and do not lack anything.

Amid all the loss, children who live in the south returned to the village this week after visiting family members during a holiday break. Some of them experienced very difficult sights of militants killing civilians in their homes, and of intense missile attacks.

The children arrived back in the village with fear and anxiety. Professionals are working with the children to help them process the fear brought on by these traumatic events with the hope that they can put this behind them.

To support children and families affected by the escalating conflict, SOS Children’s Villages in Israel and Palestine are planning to provide:

  • direct support to families in order to prevent family separation.
  • mental health and psychological support services to children and families affected
  • education and other activities for children, as schools remain closed.