Once they find themselves in Israel, the Syrians not only have to cope with their medical conditions—but with their terror over being where they are.
Masad Barhoum, clinical director at Western Galilee Medical Center, told NBC News:
Most of them arrive unconscious…. When they wake up and find that they are in Israel they are anxious and afraid. We don’t ask them any questions, we just do what we can to make them feel comfortable.
Dr. Zonis Zeev, also at the Western Galilee center, told Britain’s The Independent:
For the Syrians, we are monsters. On this side of the border, there are monster-Jews. You probably saw some of the propaganda—of Jews cutting pieces of Arabs and eating them, all the blood and stuff. So they grew up on this feeling and their anxiety is even greater, especially if they arrive alone. It’s really heartbreaking to see.
And as he also told AP:
Probably at some time they were told about the “animals” on the other side of the border, us, like the Zionists or the Jews…. So they are terrified, and we have to treat the anxiety not less than treating the physical part. Sometimes it is much harder.