The Effects of the Israel-Hamas War on Children and Youth in Israel


The murderous and unprecedented terror attack experienced by the State of Israel on October 7, 2023 led to the declaration of the Israel-Hamas war. The war is having an adverse and widespread effect on all of Israel’s citizens, but children and youth are a particularly vulnerable population in terms of the various stages of their development and their dependency on others.


This review was written to provide stakeholders with an up-to-date status report, in real time, on children and youth during the war and the risks they face in all aspects of their lives. Apart from children who were directly exposed to the war or have been evacuated from their homes, the focus of the document is on the effects on all children and youth in Israel, whatever their proximity to the events.


The main sources of information for this review included: policy documents, information sheets and protocols of meetings of government forums and organizations that provide for the needs of families and children; the professional literature on previous conflicts in Israel and worldwide and their effect on children; and the etiology of risk factors that increase risk among children and youth as identified in the literature.

Main Findings

The war’s main effects on children and youth can categorized into seven areas of life:

  1. Physical health and development: The security threat and the risk to their survival and physical welfare in providing for children’s day-to-day physical needs, including supervision, food, medical treatment, etc.
  2. Emotional wellbeing: Loss and bereavement; emotional distress due to exposure to the war and the horrors of the terror attack, anxiety, depression, and PTSD
  3. Family affiliation: Difficulty in providing for a child’s emotional and social needs; concern regarding abuse and neglect in the family
  4. Protection from others: Physical, sexual, and emotional harm from outside the family; an increase in cyber-crime against children; a lack of protection in the centers for evacuees
  5. Learning and acquisition of skills: The lack of appropriate educational settings; difficulty learning remotely and widening gaps and inequality between children
  6. Social belonging and participation: Withdrawal or difficulty in maintaining social connections; separation of evacuated children from their social environment and difficulty integrating into the new settings; loss of friends and prolonged separation from them
  7. Protection from self-endangering behaviors: A reduction or lack of supervision in the family and the community; a lack of solutions for youth in the evacuation centers and an increase in risk behavior – loitering, substance abuse, smoking and risky sexual behavior.

For MJB’s publications on Israel-Hamas War in English, press here.

For MJB’s publications on Israel-Hamas War in Hebrew, press here.