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Israeli missing for two years reunited with family after being found in Jordan

An Israeli man who was missing for two years was reunited with his family on Thursday, after being found in a psychiatric hospital in Jordan.

Shalom Rotban, a 27-year-old resident of Kiryat Malachi, was taken to a hospital in Amman several weeks ago after he was found wandering in the Jordanian capital.

  • Eventually, hospital staff realized that Rotban understood Hebrew and brought in an Arab Israeli medical student studying there who was able to communicate in writing with Rotban, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Rotban provided his mother’s phone number, according to the Ynet news site, and his family was contacted after not knowing whether he was alive for two years.

Israeli authorities were dispatched to retrieve Rotban from the hospital, though Jordanian officials were said to be resistant to releasing him. They eventually complied though, following the personal intervention of President Isaac Herzog, the report said.

Rotban was reunited at the border with his family Thursday morning.

“I can’t explain in words the happiness we’re experiencing,” his brother told Channel 12 news.

He thanked the medical student, Kamel Altalkat, who located Shalom Rotban at the hospital and the Foreign Ministry for assisting in his brother’s return.

Altalkat said he was “happy with all his heart” to reunite Rotban with his family.

  • “I’m glad I had the opportunity, that I had a part with other people in helping connect him with his family,” Altalkat told the Walla news site.
  • Rotban has suffered from PTSD since the 2012 war between Israel and Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, when he saw a rocket hit a building in Kiryat Malachi, killing three of his friends.

According to his family, the 2021 conflict in Gaza retriggered his PTSD symptoms, and he had not been seen or heard from since.

Rotban’s sister told the Ynet news site that witnessing the 2012 missile strike “destroyed his life.”

  • “He saw everything — the dead, the wounded, and he knew them all. Since [the 2012 Gaza war], he stopped talking and locked himself in his room. For a long time he would disappear for long periods of time,” she said.

PTSD awareness has risen in Israel over the past few years. Last year, Independence Day fireworks were adjusted to not make loud sounds so as not to trigger symptoms from veterans with PTSD.

Particular attention was attracted to the issue after IDF veteran Itzik Saidyan self-immolated outside a Defense Ministry office for injured soldiers two years ago, sparking a national reckoning over the treatment of wounded soldiers.

Source: TOI

Header: Shalom Rotban (third from right) with his family at the Israeli-Jordanian border on May 25, 2023. (Israel Dog Unit Spokesperson; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)