Why can't the units simply participate in the program in Israel?
The answer to this question is three-fold:
1. When the veterans travel abroad to the Diaspora, the process of living with host families and interacting with other Jews in the community who are grateful to them for their service and sacrifice, is integral to their healing. The combination of intensive therapy coupled with unconditional acceptance and support from the Jewish community gives meaning to their service and the feeling that their sacrifice is not forgotten. It is an opportunity for creating important bonds between Israeli and Canadian Jews on a very personal and deep level. For these Units to actually experience the unwavering support and be given the opportunity to form long lasting friendships with their Canadian brothers and sisters and their children is life changing.
2. The prevalent attitude in Israel is that everyone has served in the army and that once you are finished, you should simply go on with your life. It is very difficult in that atmosphere to create a safe environment where you can be vulnerable and be open to group therapy. In the Diaspora, the unit is able to shed the macho bravado that the Israeli culture has reinforced and open up their minds and their hearts to the healing process.
3. When removed from the distractions of work and family, the unit is able to concentrate on their group therapy sessions without feeling the pressures of daily life. They can leave their obligations behind and focus on their healing as individuals and as a unit. At the end of the day, they can process what they've learned during their session and decompress without having to worry about the responsibilities that come with day to day living.