The Oliels live in Gilo, a suburb of Jerusalem. Kati Oliel is 30 years old and has two children, a seven year old boy and a five year old girl. She worked at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem and was the supervisor in charge the night of the bombing on Sept 9, 2003. She had replaced the night shift cashier who called in sick earlier that day.
The attack left Kati with a torn lung, hearing loss and the shrapnel embedded in her right arm has permanently limited the use of her hand. In addition she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder--a psychological condition endemic to victims of terror--and had a severe case of agoraphobia (fear of leaving the safety of one's home). The government social service agency granted her 50% temporary disability.
After psychological counseling, her agoraphobia decreased, but on a visit to her in November, 2006, we ascertained she had not fully overcome her fears and restricted much of her activities to the neighborhood closest to home. Nevertheless, she is steadily making an adjustment. Occupational testing revealed an aptitude for bookkeeping and she undertook a course of study and is currently in her second year. Upon completion of her studies she plans to find employment in that field.
Her son, four years old at the time Kati was injured, became very fearful, anxious and withdrawn and, as one would expect, attempts to be overprotective of his mother. For a time he was being helped by an "older brother"--a volunteer high school student who visited him weekly to give him much needed attention and care and assisted him to relearn social skills. However, he continues to exhibit enormous anxiety about his mother's safety and calls her on his cell phone several times an hour when she is not with him. We recommended psychotherapy and plan to allocate funds for that if social services do not pay for it.
In the meantime, the family is trying to survive economically on the husband's limited income. He works as a mechanic in a car garage and earns a minimum wage.
Kati is ready to move forward and begin to put the bombing experience with all its ramifications behind her. Bridges provides economic support while she is in school and helped her purchase a computer.