Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Weekly Report The experience of childhood in Israeli society is not uniform. On the surface, one sees the youth of a modern industrialized country. New styles of clothing are displayed in the streets, popular music pours out of dance clubs and apartment windows, and pelaphones, even in the hands of ten and eleven year olds, abound. However, beneath the surface are many other realities and in most cases these other versions of the Israeli childhood are far from pleasant. PHR-Israel, a leading medical human rights organization, chooses to address this other norm: the medical neglect of Palestinian children and the children of foreign workers. Over the years, PHR-Israel has created two funds to serve these children. The Palestinian Children's Medical Care Fund functions as an emergency relief for children living in the West Bank and Gaza. Children there do not receive services neither from the Palestinian Authority, nor from the Israeli government and thus often suffer from medical neglect. The second, The Children of Foreign Workers medical fund, operates to advance the services offered in PHR's foreign workers clinic located in South Tel-Aviv, as well as to secure treatment for children who need more advanced medical attention. Last Tuesday, November 2, PHR-Israel hosted a benefit recital with performers Varda Kotler-Soprano, Nicolas Dicloux-Pianist and Rami Tal-Flutist to raise funds for the health care needs of these children. The event, attended by people from a variety of sectors in society including the Mayor of Tel-Aviv Ron Huldai, was extremely successful. In his speech, Huldai spoke about the need for public awareness on the issue of distribution of health care and professed a desire for change. He stated that the Israeli public must not allow political conflicts to get in the way of care for the children. Their right to health care must be protected and any violation of this must be corrected. He emphasized the need for public awareness and community involvement to induce change. His inspiring message will hopefully gain momentum as PHR continues its work both in caring for these children and in educating the public at large. Future Work PHR plays an active role in the field of human rights through education and intervention. Torture, one of the issues most in need of human rights attention in Israeli society, is a policy which PHR actively works against. On November 26th, 1999, PHR-Israel is participating in a conference sponsored by the Medical Fund and the Torture and Rehabilitation Center in Ramallah that will focus on the issue of torture in Israel. Israeli policy towards torture, (although delegitimized by the Supreme Court's recent decision) is in need of revision. The Israeli government allows for the torture of prisoners and Israeli doctors are at times involved in this immoral act. The implications for a society that allows torture are severe. The use of violence as a weapon to combat violence is contradictory. To humiliate, abuse, and victimize the prisoner is a denial of basic human rights. A society that allows this kind of behavior teaches its children that violence is an acceptable means of solving problems. Those who turn a blind eye to torture condone passivity and those who participate perpetuate evil. Maintaining a policy of torture breeds a belief in the need for violence, fosters a numbing of the senses, and weakens a sense of collective morality. The upcoming conference on torture will address the issue form a variety of different perspectives through presentations offered by individuals knowledgeable in the field. Discussions and debate should be continued after the conference to further education. Torture must not be allowed in any society, let alone one which considers itself to be as advanced as Israel. ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <email@example.com>. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education/ To subscribe to the list, send a message to <firstname.lastname@example.org>, with the following text in the message: subscribe hr-education To unsubscribe from the list, send a message to <email@example.com>, with the following text in the message: unsubscribe hr-education If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>. *Por información en espanol, por favor contactar <email@example.com>. Pour assistance en francais, merci de contacter <firstname.lastname@example.org>. **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
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