Report: 38 Children Killed in Oct. 7 Attacks

By Yoni Weiss

A report released Sunday brought to light the distressing aftermath of the Simchas Torah attacks and the subsequent conflict on Israeli children, outlining a profound impact on their well-being. Submitted to President Yitzchak Herzog by the Child Safety Council, the findings depict a somber reality of physical injuries, psychological trauma, and emotional distress among the youngest victims.

According to the report, 38 children lost their lives on Simchas Torah, including three under age three, and four between three and six years old. Furthermore, 42 children were abducted in the Gaza Strip, with Kfir Bibas, abducted at nine months old, celebrating his first birthday in captivity alongside his four-year-old brother Ariel. Sadly, the parents of 15 of these abducted children are still being held captive, and 116 children were orphaned, facing an uncertain future without parental care.

The toll on children’s mental health is staggering, with 19,407 children recognized by the state as suffering from physical injuries or psychological trauma since the war began. Alarmingly, 37% of these children are under the age of six, highlighting the disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable.

During the initial months of the conflict, there was a sharp rise in stress-related diagnoses among children, with boys experiencing a 78% increase and girls a 69% increase, according to data from the Fund of Maccabi Health. An 84% emotional distress rate was reported by parents, with fear and anxiety being prevalent emotions.

Tragically, children have become targets of violence within families, with a 37% increase in reports of violence against children from October to December 2023. Thirteen investigation files were opened against adults suspected of committing attacks against minors.

The report also sheds light on the challenges faced by displaced school-age children, with around 48,000 residing in hotels or guesthouses by the end of December 2023. The shortage of specialized support personnel in schools, including approximately a thousand school psychologists and educational counselors nationwide, exacerbates the difficulties faced by these children.

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