'Everything's been smashed to smithereens'

Social services, NGOs mobilize to help family of Kassam victim.

Oshri Oz 298 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Oshri Oz 298 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hours after she was released from a hospital on Monday, Susannah Oz, heavily sedated and six months pregnant, buried her husband, who was killed when a Kassam rocket landed near his car Sunday in Sderot. Oshri Oz, 36, of Hod Hasharon, visited Sderot regularly as a computer technician for the Peretz Bonei Hanegev company. "Friends are staying with her at the moment," Jeffrey Belson, Susannah Oz's father, told The Jerusalem Post before the funeral Monday. "I am terrified that she is going to go to pieces." "Everything has been smashed to smithereens," he said. "I don't know how we will be able to go on as a family. I loved him very much and we were very close. I do not have a son and he was really like a son to me." Belson, originally from the UK, said municipal workers had provided the family with psychological counseling, including guidance on how to break the news to Daniella, the couple's two-year-old daughter. "That responsibility fell mainly onto my wife, who is very close with Daniella," he said. "Even though she is only two and does not fully understand what has happened, I believe that children, like adults, have a sixth sense." The Hod Hasharon Municipality has a team of social workers and psychologists to assist families after tragedies, Avital Bar, head of the local Welfare and Social Services Department, told the Post. But Hod Hasharon had not had too much experience dealing with victims of terrorism and their families, she added. "The local authority is required to take care of all funeral arrangements and provide the family with whatever assistance it needs in the first few days," Bar said. "We are there to help until social workers arrive from the National Insurance Institute [NII]. They usually visit the family during the shiva [one week mourning] period and continue working with them later on." Belson said the biggest shock for the family had been reading about his son-in-law's death on the Internet. "I was at work in Rehovot," he said. "I clicked onto the Internet and saw my son-in-law's name on the news. Susannah also learned about it from the Internet. We were not informed by any official source. There seems to be no private channel to tell family members when a person is killed in a terrorist attack." A team of police officers and social workers are dispatched to notify families, Bar said, but in the case of the Oz family, "when we arrived she already knew." Usually the name of the person killed is not released until all family members are notified, Meir Indor, director of Almagor - Terror Victims Association, said. If the Oz family learned of the tragedy via an Internet news channel, then "it needs to be investigated," he said. Indor said municipal social workers and representatives from the NII were usually on hand in the initial weeks to advise families of terror victims regarding their rights and benefits. "Financially, the government compensates the families quite well," he said. "But we know how to help them in other ways. Almagor volunteers - usually themselves victims of terrorism - arrive at the families' front door when the official assistance ends. We offer them a range of emotional services such as support groups, events during the religious holidays and legal advice."