Israelis in Gaza border to receive upgraded mental health centers

Israel’s Health Ministry runs 11 resilience centers – most of which are in the South of Israel that provide mental support amid emergency situations, such as rocket attacks from Gaza.

 IN ADDITION to the Jewish National Fund-USA Roklen Resilience Center in Sderot, animal-assisted therapy is also provided (photo credit: EREZ KAGANOVITZ)
IN ADDITION to the Jewish National Fund-USA Roklen Resilience Center in Sderot, animal-assisted therapy is also provided
(photo credit: EREZ KAGANOVITZ)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman announced a new “civil resilience” initiative meant to improve resilience centers in Israel’s southern regions, which are disproportionally affected by missile fire from Gaza. 

The initiative, which will be brought to the government for approval on Sunday, plans to improve resilience centers – which provide counseling and mental health services to victims of terror attacks.

Lapid's and Liberman's new initiative plans to increase budgets for resilience centers and centralize all of them into Israel’s Health Ministry budget, and look into potential sites for new centers.

The proposed 2023 budget for the resilience centers is NIS 26 million. The budget in 2019 was NIS 18 million, but the government did not include a budget for the resilience centers in 2020.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev shared their support for the decision.

 PRIME MINISTER Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz consult during Operation Breaking Dawn (credit: ARIEL HERMONY/DEFENSE MINISTRY) PRIME MINISTER Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz consult during Operation Breaking Dawn (credit: ARIEL HERMONY/DEFENSE MINISTRY)

"The economic, health and security stability of the residents of the enclave is a national mission and we are working to provide assistance to the residents of the enclave and the region. We are succeeding in implementing the right policy in the Gaza enclave, which has led the settlements to be among the fastest growing settlements in the State of Israel,” said Liberman.

“As we promised during the operation to the residents of the South — this government will not disappear when the fighting ends, we are with you the day after as well,” declared Lapid. 

“As we promised during the operation to the residents of the south - this government will not disappear when the fighting ends, we are with you the day after as well.”

Yair Lapid

What are Israel's resilience centers?

Israel’s Health Ministry runs 11 resilience centers — most of which are in the South — providing mental support amid emergency situations, such as rocket attacks from Gaza.

Between 2017 and 2019, 14,000 people suffering from anxiety were treated in dedicated centers, while another 4,700 patients were treated as part of the National Insurance Institute program.

Only 30 municipalities in the country out of 257 offer a resilience center or other mental-health clinic run by one of the four healthcare providers, a 2021 State Comptroller report said. The number of resilience centers has been reduced from 75 to 50 since 2018. 

“The civic resilience of the residents has a tremendous contribution to success and prosperity of the region in particular and the State of Israel in general," Liberman concluded. 

Rossella Tercatin contributed to this report.