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Ministry says offering mental health services for non-Hebrew speakers amid Gaza violence

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Missiles from Israel's Iron Dome air defense system, intercept and destroy rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, on the outskirts of the southern city of Ashkelon, on August 7, 2022. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Missiles from Israel's Iron Dome air defense system, intercept and destroy rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, on the outskirts of the southern city of Ashkelon, on August 7, 2022. (Jack Guez/AFP)

The Israeli government and a non-profit organization set up mental health support call centers for people who don’t speak Hebrew in response to the ongoing fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups around the Gaza Strip, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry says.

Under the initiative, mental health services will be offered in English (by calling 04-7702651) , Amharic (04-8258081), Spanish (04-7702649), Russian (04-7702648) and French (04-7702650), the ministry says.

Local governments in southern Israel maintain so-called “resilience centers,” which are meant to provide assistance to residents to emotionally handle the trauma of frequent rocket attacks.

However, these services are often only offered in Hebrew, which can prove difficult to new immigrants who may not speak the language.

To address this, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry decided to open these five additional phone centers, alongside the Community Stress Prevention Center non-profit organization, known in Hebrew as Mashabim.

The ministry says it is also working with the military to ensure that safety instructions are also offered in a variety of languages.

“The Immigration and Absorption Ministry will continue to help with all the means at its disposal so new immigrants in the south and throughout the country can receive the help they need to protect themselves during an emergency.

The ministry is also prepared to evacuate new immigrants for rest and relaxation as needed from the south to other parts of the country,” the ministry says in a statement.

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