Some victims of terror suffer terrible physical injuries but with time and proper care are able to return to normal life. Other victims have little or no physical injuries, but the mental pain of their trauma stays with them for the rest of their lives.
Roee Cohen falls into the second category. In 2001, Roee, his brother Ido, and a number of close friends went to Jerusalem to celebrate his 20th birthday. That night, a suicide bomber struck the restaurant, killing Roee’s brother and friends, among other victims. Roee, however, had briefly stepped outside for air when the attack took place and escaped injury.
The intense pain of losing the brother he idolized and so many of his closest friends and the ordeal of witnessing the effect of a suicide bombing have never left Roee, even 14 years after the attack. He currently lives in an isolated farm with no electricity or running water in the Beitar Illit area, tending to his farm animals. His mental state has prevented him from regular employment.
But Roee is also working to return to social life, with help from OneFamily. Roee is a member of the OneFamily Soccer Team, which serves as a powerful support group for victims of terror and bereaved sons and brothers. Besides offering recreation and competition, the soccer team allows victims of terror to mentor and support other victims. It is based on the OneFamily model of developing a nuclear family of victim-to-victim support.
OneFamily has also provided Roee with the means to rebuild his modest home. But it’s the psychological support that makes the real difference in his ongoing recovery. It shows once again that the effects of terror last a lifetime.