Displaced Israelis Find Temporary Homes

The resilience and adaptability of Israelis living in turbulent times.



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Following the brutal Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th, an estimated 200,000 people have been displaced from their homes, Israel21C reports. Displacement often thrusts individuals into unfamiliar territory, and for many Israelis, hotels have become temporary abodes. The journey of adaptation begins with the reshaping of perspectives, as families and individuals navigate the intricate dance between uncertainty and the desire for a semblance of normalcy. In these hotel rooms, they find themselves learning to live with less, focusing on essentials, and discovering the resilience within.

Finding temporary refuge
According to The New York Times, the evacuees hail from border towns in the south, near Gaza, where Hamas extremists massacred Israeli civilians and from towns in the north, where tensions with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon have increased. The Israeli government, which is footing the bill for the evacuees' indefinite accommodation in 280 hotels and guesthouses dispersed throughout Israel, is undertaking a logistically challenging and expensive operation. 

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“When the evacuees arrived at our hotels, we of course knew that we would be providing them with three full meals, in addition to coffee and fresh fruit that is available all day long. We made adjustments, such as more types of foods that are kid-friendly. From the first day of the war, when evacuees started coming through our doors, we began putting together a plan that would cover all the families’ needs, Tali Keidar, marketing and digital VP at the Dan Hotel chain, told The Jerusalem Post

Communities around the country have also been hosting the fleeing families, providing private or public housing as well as food and clothing via an app called Find A Safe Place, that matches displaced Israelis with private hosts, Israel21C reported. 

Creating Home Away from Home
Organizations like IsraAID are offering crucial therapeutic services to evacuees, coping with the stress and trauma of recent events.

“We had to establish a space that could allow parents to sit with their children and just be, to see and feel tiny signs of routine, to see that their child was alright; to see him play, laugh, run, and build – to see that he’s still a child; to see that the adults he meets will do everything they can to make the experience better for him and that even if he can’t return to that naive paradise of childhood other experiences can be restored,” Yehudit Henig-Roth, an Israeli therapist specializing in trauma care, couples counseling, family counseling, and adolescent and early childhood care, is quoted as saying by Israel21C.

“We’ve tried to make a normal life out of an abnormal situation. But being a refugee, even a luxury refugee, is still a refugee. We can’t predict the future. We can’t think about the past. We live in the here and now,”Lea Raivitz, from Kibbutz Bar’am on the Lebanese border, told the New York Times. 

While war rages on, the future remains unclear for many displaced Israelis, who are doing their best to piece together the fragments of their shattered lives. Their ability to transform temporary spaces into havens of hope, forge connections in shared adversity, and prioritize wellbeing speaks to the strength inherent in the human experience. As they navigate the uncertainties of displacement, their stories stand as a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit to adapt, connect, and find normalcy in the most abnormal of circumstances.

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