Israeli Health Minister Addresses Mental Health Crisis Amid Ongoing Conflict

by Ella

Jerusalem, [Current Date] – In an exclusive interview, Israel’s Minister of Health, Uriel Busso, shared his insights on the challenges faced by the nation’s health system during the ongoing conflict, characterizing it as the most severe mental health crisis in Israeli history. Minister Busso assumed his role shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, and his remarks shed light on the strain placed on healthcare providers and the mental well-being of the nation.


The appointment of Minister Uriel Busso came following the tragic events that unfolded approximately a week after the outbreak of the war. Shas leader Aryeh Deri informed him of his selection to the position, replacing Moshe Arbel. Busso had previously chaired the health committee in the Knesset, where he served for about a year.


Since the start of the conflict, hospitals across the country have treated around 6,000 individuals injured in the Hamas attacks and extensive rocket fire, which reached nearly every part of Israel. Minister Busso expressed his admiration for the healthcare system, noting, “The health system was the first to come to its senses on the first terrible day of the war.” He detailed the challenges faced, with initial preparations for 150-200 wounded in emergency room drills falling far short of the reality, as 700 wounded arrived at Soroka hospital in a single day.


Uriel Busso, a 50-year-old father of six, who resides in Bnei Brak, shared his firsthand experiences after visiting hospitals and hotels housing survivors and evacuees. He noted the dedication of healthcare workers and the emotional toll they faced, many having family or friends directly affected by the conflict.


One critical issue facing the Israeli healthcare system is its readiness to handle hundreds of seriously injured individuals when fewer than half of the country’s hospital wards and operating rooms are fortified against missile attacks. Minister Busso explained their readiness to relocate hospitals if necessary and the ongoing efforts to protect vulnerable wards, with an estimated cost of approximately 4 billion shekels for full protection.

The experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Minister Busso, helped the healthcare system swiftly transition from routine to emergency response during the current crisis. Despite the extraordinary abilities demonstrated in the fight against COVID-19, the mental health crisis has emerged as a major challenge. The mental health system in Israel has faced years of neglect, leading to inadequate hospitalization conditions and long waiting times for essential mental health treatments.

Minister Busso emphasized, “The mental health crisis in the war is the biggest and most serious mental health event in the country’s history.” It is affecting not only those in close proximity to the conflict but also many Israeli citizens who have been traumatized by the ongoing situation. To address this issue, the Ministry of Health is planning a series of actions, including the employment of psychological mentors with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and expanding rehabilitation services.

Minister Busso also touched on the chronic budget deficit in the healthcare system and the need for increased funding to align with Western standards, which he estimated at approximately 20 billion shekels. While he did not explicitly make it a post-war demand, he stressed the importance of elevating the state’s view of the health system and reducing long waiting times for critical medical procedures.

As the conflict continues, the challenges facing Israel’s healthcare system remain significant, and Minister Uriel Busso is determined to address these issues with a focus on both physical and mental well-being, placing the health of the nation at the forefront of his agenda.

For further updates on the evolving situation and efforts to support healthcare and mental health in Israel, stay tuned to reliable news sources.


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