The world watches as stomach-turning images continue to pour in from Israel, from the heinous attack that was carried out on 7th October 2023. It did so a few weeks ago as well, witnessing tens of thousands of refugees fleeing Nagorno Karabakh, and also a year and a half ago, as more and more bodies had appeared at the scene of Russia’s massacre at Bucha, Ukraine.
It is yet to be understood why these acts of war crime are much more frequent in the past few years. That is for geopolitical analysts and experts to analyse. Perhaps the shift towards nationalisation, as opposed to globalisation, after the Covid pandemic has a role here. Maybe it is just the fact that everything is much much more televised these days. That is not for us to determine – at least not in this article. What we want to focus on is how we can better prepare our home front for this type of warfare, since the home front has become an integral part of it.
The most important observation is, perhaps, that society as a whole needs to be ready, and to be united for when violence strikes – not just the soldiers at the front. And in this sense, we can learn a lot from how Israel and the Israelis have reacted to their national tragedy.
Israeli society’s response to crisis
Laniado Hospital is located in Netanya, Israel – about 60 miles from the border with Gaza. Despite the distance, in the first few days alone following the calamity, it treated around 40 soldiers and civilians, including 16 patients who were rushed there in only 24 hours, needing emergency care. Naturally, the hospitals in the vicinity of the conflict zone do not have the capacity to handle thousands of wounded, so all over the country, medical institutions needed to shift their attention to the situation.
The Israeli home front is prepared for crises, and solidarity plays a key role here too. Israelis are sadly very familiar with conflict and armed clashes. They know that it can happen anywhere, anytime – and that Israel as a society needs to pitch in. The number of treatments and checkups being delayed and postponed in times like these is ungraspable, and you won’t find any patients of Laniado Hospital complaining about it.
However, pitching in is not only about understanding the situation. According to people we talked to at Laniado, once news broke out about the atrocities, medical staff left everything and came to work, no questions asked. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a Saturday, which is a day of rest in Israel and a holy day for Jews. Also, as patients started arriving in Laniado donations from Israel and abroad also started pouring in en masse.
What can we learn?
This is just one example of one hospital in Israel and, needless to say, each and every hospital in the country reacted the same way, with no exceptions. The key to keeping a strong home front, which is prepared for scenarios like this one, lies in four main points:
- Readiness at all times and all situations for any crisis that might occur.
- Willingness of specialists (in this case, medical staff) to report immediately when needed.
- Understanding on the civil front that emergency situations require a shift of attention from the services they normally receive.
- A rooted cultural norm of giving and donating, which is set to supplement the aid provided by institutions.
Remember, in today’s reality, this type of crisis can happen anywhere, at any time – and it has a higher probability to strike when and where you least expect it to. That’s why it is imperative to hope for the best and expect the worst. Prepare not only for it to strike your neighborhood, town, city or province, but also to your neighbors. Because you will need to reach out a helping hand.
David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.