Ukraine's first lady arrives in Israel to learn about childhood PTSD

Zelenska plans to meet with Israeli trauma experts as part of plan to combat childhood trauma from life in war zones.

Ukraine's First Lady, Olena Zelenska, during a breakfast meeting with President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal. (photo credit: YIGAL SLAVIN)
Ukraine's First Lady, Olena Zelenska, during a breakfast meeting with President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal.
(photo credit: YIGAL SLAVIN)

The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, has arrived in Israel this week on a trip focused on post-traumatic healing in children. Zelenska's visit came following an invitation from Israel's President, Isaac Herzog.

Zelenska's visit will focus on the first ladies' joint project for Ukraine to adopt Israeli resilience programs to help Ukrainians suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms.

One of her first stops while in Israel was meeting with President Herzog's wife, Michal Herzog, where they met at their residence in Tel Aviv for breakfast. The two were joined by President Herzog himself, ahead of a full day of work to address the needs of post-traumatic recovery in children by both first ladies. The President joined as a tribute to the joint effort to alleviate the suffering of the children in the war and the overall humanitarian effort.

The two will spend their day at the Safra Children's Hospital, and Sheba Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan. Their day will continue with a discussion at the Israeli Trauma Coalition and NATAL: the Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, both of which have been visited by Ukrainian mental health experts have visited Israel to learn from Israeli professionals in the past.

Zelenska's meeting with these organizations is centered on learning more about how to deal with the care of children and trauma victims on a national basis, with the participation of senior representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union. 

Ukraine's first lady also plans to visit wounded Ukrainian soldiers recuperating in Israel.

Olena Zelenska's global reach

Zelenska has traveled the world since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, to ask for humanitarian aid. She met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul last month, asking for mine detectors and demining equipment, as well as air defense systems.

Ukraine has also asked Israel for systems to counter Russian missile attacks, but Jerusalem cites the Russian Army’s involvement in Syria and the Jewish community in Russia as its reason for not sending military aid.

Israel has expressed support for Ukraine, voting with it in the UN and sending missile warning systems and humanitarian aid, including a field hospital, armored ambulances, protective gear, and more.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.