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AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

Must read: LIVING BEYOND TERRORISM: ISRAELI STORIES OF HOPE AND HEALING
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  1. How did the idea for your research and subsequent book originate?

    My interest in terror survivors in Israel began years ago as I heard the extraordinary stories of survivors of the Holocaust, in particular those few members of my own family who had survived. more...

    A trip to Israel in October 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada (Palestinian Uprising), helped me connect what I had learned about Holocaust survivors to what was happening now in Israel, Palestine, and the Middle-East. more...

  2. Why did you write this book and what did you hope to learn?

    While, thankfully, most of us will never directly experience a terror attack, life crises are inevitable for most of us. I hoped that I and others would learn from these people how we too might be able to continue life with new vitality, purpose, insights, and productivity and how we might use this knowledge to successfully deal with our own life crises – and share it with others. more...

  3. Why did they want to tell their stories?

    Many of those I spoke with asked me to share their stories to “help others face traumatic events” and “understand that there is life after trauma, and that life is not finished.” By telling and retelling their stories, we honor them and recognize the importance of their lives and the lives of their loved ones. By learning from their stories, we honor the importance of our own lives. And by telling their stories we bear witness. more...

  4. Why do you still want to tell their stories?

    Sharing these stories from the Second Intifada is still highly relevant and important ten or more years later. In Israel, every time the warning siren sounds or the Iron Dome leaps into action to intercept an incoming rocket ... more...

  5. Did the book involve special research?

    From a theoretical perspective, my work is inspired by Viktor Frankl, the noted neurologist, psychologist, and Holocaust survivor whose autobiographical Man's Search for Meaning documents how personal strength, wellness, and other positive outcomes can result from the struggle with a trauma or life crisis. more...

    My work is also influenced by the theoretical perspective of posttraumatic growth. more...

  6. How long have you been working on the book?

    I began my doctoral studies in September 2000 and decided to examine the experiences of terror survivors after visiting Israel in October 2002 at the height of the Second Intifada. more...

  7. Who are the participants and when did you interview them?

    The original dissertation research study sample included twenty-four Israelis, ages 22-63, who personally survived suicide bombings and other attacks on civilians between 2001 and 2003. more...

  8. How did you find the people that you interviewed and was this a representative sample?

    The people were recruited from the patients, clients, family, and friends nominated by contacts made in various communities in Israel. In addition, candidates were solicited via newspaper ads and by word of mouth. more...

  9. Why did you select a narrative approach to your research?

    Again, although my role was as a researcher and not as a clinician and I was careful not to cross the line, there was a therapeutic aspect to the interview process. For survivors and family members, telling their stories repeatedly increases their self-awareness and understanding of their experiences and actions and helps them gain perspective on their lives and redefine their identity. more...

  10. What conclusions do you draw? Do they support or challenge generally accepted views in your field?

    Although we cannot draw conclusions from these findings, the stories provide answers to some very important questions: How do the Israeli survivors and families of survivors and victims live with the constant threat of terrorism and the social and economic disruption of their lives? How do they develop coping skills and adapt to their situation? What do these changes look like and how are they manifested? What accounts for the fact that so many of them did as well as they did? Was their recovery due to certain pre-trauma personality traits and inner resources and/or to their post-trauma environment - their families, their communities, and the organizations with which they had contact? more...

  11. Is there a recipe for ensuring positive change, resilience, and growth?

    There is no one recipe – no right or wrong response – about how humans respond after struggling with horrific experiences. Every individual experiences a traumatic event, ascribes meaning to it, and takes action as a result of their personal characteristics, past experiences, present context, and physiological state. more...

  12. How do the survivors, their families, and the families of the bereaved move beyond the trauma of such an event?

    They are creative, find the silver lining and give back, moving forward with action. Many survivors find meaning by their deeds, experiences, and the attitudes they take towards unavoidable suffering, acknowledging the human potential to grow. They may find meaning by creating a work or by doing a deed. Some construct meaning through self-transcendence or altruism. They see negative events as an opportunity to help others, contributing to society and turning tragedy into action or activism. more...

  13. Why do you use the term survivor, not victim, of terror?

    The use of the term survivor sometimes is controversial within Jewish circles; there are some who feel that “survivor” should be used only for those who have survived the Holocaust and not those who have survived terror acts. Although the terms victim and survivor are often used interchangeably, the terms victim, survivor, thriver, and even victor do reflect attitudinal distinctions, as we hear in the self-identities expressed by many of the speakers in these stories.

  14. Why do you use different terms for the attacks, e.g. politically motivated violence and terrorism?

    I am sensitive to the fact that the topic at hand involves, at least, two subjective histories that are often highly politicized. My goal is to present these matters objectively in a non-political manner. Above all, this book is about people - how they feel and think and act while struggling with horrific experiences - not about politics. more...

  15. Is there a difference between Jewish and Arab responses to terrorism?

    Again, this book is not about politics, it is about people – how they feel and think and act after struggling with horrific experiences. The human impact and responses are similar for all victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks or politically motivated violence, in which the actual victims are irrelevant to the perpetrators. As a result, every individual is instilled with the fear that the next attack may strike them or their loved one. more...

  16. Why do they stay and how can they put their children’s lives at risk?

    For Jewish Israelis, the State of Israel was founded as a homeland for the Jewish people, more...

    For many of the Arab-Israelis as well, Israel is home. more...

  17. Why did you choose to do this difficult work in Israel?

    My upbringing instilled in me important values and passions. more...

  18. How and why did you make such a seemingly extreme change in career from the automotive industry to human development?

    My early life prepared me for a lifetime of non-traditional roles. more...

Must read: LIVING BEYOND TERRORISM: ISRAELI STORIES OF HOPE AND HEALING