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Silent Victims

Chananel Shapiro

They were released from the hospital without a scratch, but they can’t sleep at night, are nervous and anxious, and will cross the street or draw their gun if someone is walking behind them. Witnessing a terror attack — coming face to face with a murderer or watching a life ebb away before them — they may be considered the lucky survivors. But the horror keeps replaying in their minds, never allowing them to fully resume normal life.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

They said he was lucky. After the attack at a bus stop on Rechov Malchei Yisrael last month, Rabbi Moshe Shmueli was taken to the hospital and “just” treated for shock. But unlike a physical wound, he says his pain actually intensifies with each passing day. “I was sitting at the bus stop, right next to the victims,” says Rabbi Shmueli. A tremor runs through him as he replays the horror. “I saw the car plowing into the bus stop at over 100 miles an hour. I saw the crazed satan emerging from the door and begin to slaughter people. I saw Reb Yeshaya [Krishevsky] crumple and heard his final screams.” Over a month has passed since the attack, but Reb Moshe is only now beginning to process the horrors he witnessed. “When the car hit the bus stop, I was hurled into the street,” he remembers. “At first I thought it was an accident, and since I suspected I’d broken a leg, I thought it better to remain motionless. But when I saw the terrorist go after his victim with a meat cleaver, I realized that it was a terror attack. “And I realized something else as well,” he continues. “I realized I was next.”RabbiShmueli was evacuated to the hospital, where he was found to have been injured by glass shards (though his leg was not broken). After several days of observation, he was discharged to return home, categorized as “very lightly wounded.” “The cuts are almost completely healed,” he says, “but the psychological wounds haven’t even begun to heal. On the contrary, the pain increases with every passing day. I feel confused; I sleep a lot, and I have this constant sense of anxiety.” Rabbi Shmueli is one of those terror attack survivors whose body,baruch Hashem, has remained whole. But he’s part of an increasingly large group of silent victims, classified as “lightly wounded” or “suffering from shock” — briefly hospitalized, quickly discharged, yet suffering daily from invisible wounds that fill them with fear, panic, and anxieties, which often prevent them from functioning. Against the backdrop of some terrifying bloodshed, victims who were hospitalized “just for shock” seem fortunate. But no matter how mild the physical scars, coming face to face with a terrorist and his butcher knife will change a person’s life forever.

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