The Galilee Society NewsletterIn This Issue: Issue 20, May 2006 • Galilee Society Participates in Doha • Health Rights Center Diabetes Science Conference Project Takes New Direction • Naqab Department Holds Study Day • Senior American Official Visits R&D for Bedouin Youth Center • Galilee Society Researchers Take • Other News in Brief and How to Part in Medicinal Plants Conference Donate in TunisiaGalilee Society Participates in Doha Science ConferenceDr. Basel Ghattas, General Director of the GalileeSociety, and Dr. Ahmad Yazbik, Senior Researcher at theGalilee Society Regional Research and DevelopmentCenter, recently took part in the first Conference of theArab Expatriate Scientists in Doha, Qatar. Theconference was held under the auspices of Her HighnessSheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Misned, Chairperson ofQatar Foundation for Education, Sciences andCommunity Development. It took place on 24-26 April2006 and included an elite cluster of renowned Arabexpatriate scientists from Qatar as well as other Arabcountries.This conference therefore provided an excellentopportunity for the Galilee Society representatives tomeet leading figures in science and technology in Qataras well as colleagues in the expatriate community. Thefocus of the conference was on exchanging ideasregarding the future of science in the Arab world,especially in the areas of biotechnology, biomedicine,environmental sciences and information technology.During the various meetings and workshops, the GalileeSociety representatives had the opportunity to present thework of the organizations Research and DevelopmentCenter, showing how scientific research can be done on asmaller scale, in independent laboratories, and yet yieldimportant results. The Galilee Society is unique in that it
has managed to conduct highly advanced appliedresearch, frequently published in peer-reviewed journalsand leading to successful commercial activity, in arelatively short time and with limited financial support.In addition to this, Dr. Ghattas and Dr. Yazbik establishedvaluable networks for potential future cooperation withtheir fellow scientists. Dr. Ghattas also gave an interviewfor the local media, regarding the unique situation ofArabs living in Israel. He explained the difficultcircumstances young Arab scientists in the country arefaced with, lacking equal opportunities in terms ofacademic study and industry.* Picture shows Dr. Ahmad Yazbik (left) and Dr. BaselGhattas (second from the right) at the science conferencein Doha.Naqab Department Holds Study Day for Bedouin YouthOn 25 May, the Galilee Society Naqab Departmentorganized a “Health and Environment” study day for morethan 160 Bedouin high school youth. The event, held inBeer Sheva, dealt with the health and environmentalissues specific to the Bedouin population in the Naqab(Negev), such as nearby polluting industries, lack ofproper sanitation and so on. The study day mainlytargeted high school students specializing inEnvironmental Studies. The participating students camefrom schools in Kseife, Segev Shalom, Hura and TelSheva.After an introductory presentation by Mr. Adnan Said, theDirector of the Galilee Society Naqab Department, Dr.Elana Belmaker, Head of the Ministry of Health for thesouthern region in Israel, spoke to the youth. She gave apresentation about the relation between health andenvironment and the particular hazards present in thearea.Dr. Isam Sabbah, Scientific Director of the Galilee SocietyRegional Research and Development Center, in turnspoke about environment as an important resource andemphasized the importance of academic study andresearch in this field. He emphasized the potential thatexists for community development through such
environmental research and innovation.This reflected the concerns of Mr. Said who pointed outthat “environmental study is not seen as important in thelocal schools”. Instead, it is something students feel theyhave to do simply in order to finish high school. “This”, Mr.Said said, “is what we want to change through events likethis as well as through our other educational projects. Wewant to show the students that the environment is animportant subject in itself and highly relevant for theBedouin population in the Naqab”.Following these presentations, the study day continuedwith a talk by Mr. Lbad Abu Afash, a resident of WadiNa’am. He related his personal experience of living in thearea and spoke about how the environmental hazards ofthe region affect him and the rest of the Bedouinpopulation in the area in their day-to-day lives.Finally, a documentary film on environmental issues in theregion was shown. This was made by students at SegevShalom high school.* Picture shows Bedouin youth taking part in the StudyDay in the Naqab.Galilee Society Researchers Take Part in Medicinal PlantsConference in TunisiaThe Second International Scientific Colloquium ofBioplanta on Natural Products: Pharmaceutical Therapy,Nutritional and Environmental Benefits was held on 4-7May 2006. The conference was jointly organized by theHigher Biotechnological Institute of Sfax, Tunisia, and theDepartments of Pharmacy of Monstair, Tunisia andMontpellier, France. More than 150 scientists,ethnopharmacologists, and graduate students from NorthAfrica and Europe participated in the conference, at whichmore than 40 papers and 20 posters on medicinal plantsresearch were presented. The Galilee Society RegionalResearch and Development (R&D) Center wasrepresented at the event by Dr. Hassan Azaizeh and Dr.Omar Said.The two Galilee Society scientists had the opportunity topresent their research at the conference. Dr. Azaizeh
gave a lecture titled, Ethnopharmacological uses ofArabic medicinal herbs and the status of the traditionalArabic medicine in the Middle Eastern region. This wasbased on an extensive survey conducted in Israel andPalestine assessing the knowledge and skill ofethnopharmacologists in the area.Dr. Said on the other hand presented a lecture titled,Efficacy of Palestinian medicinal herbs used by traditionalArab herbalists for treating different human diseases. Inthis presentation he discussed his research on the use oftraditional medicinal plants in treating diabetes, cancer, aswell as liver and skin diseases. In addition to thesepresentations, several posters describing Al-Maissam’seducational activities were exhibited during the entireperiod of the conference.Both scientists also attended a number of group meetingswhere the participants discussed the possibility ofsubmitting joint proposals and cooperating on differentresearch projects. According to Dr. Azaizeh “otherparticipants showed great interest in our work in the fieldof traditional Arabic medicinal herbs, and many were keento visit our sites or to develop collaborative projects in thefuture”. In fact, Al-Maissam is the only center in theMiddle East that conducts research on natural productsbased on traditional ethnopharmacological uses. Thisconference therefore provided an excellent opportunity forthe center to present its activities.During the Bioplanta 2006 conference, the organizersalso announced an upcoming conference titled “TheRevival of Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine”, to beheld in Amman, Jordan, during the summer of 2007. Thisconference is being jointly organized by the GalileeSociety R&D Center and the Arab Group for theProtection of Nature. Many research groups present inTunisia were interested in attending the conference andassisting in finding sponsorships.* Picture shows Dr. Hassan Azaizeh (left) and Dr. OmarSaid at the conference in Tunisia.
Health Rights Center Diabetes Project Takes New DirectionThe Galilee Society Health Rights Center has decided tochange the focus of its Diabetes and CardiovascularDisease Awareness project in Tamra by increasing itswork with Kupat Holim Clalit doctors with their own privateclinics. This decision of the center to rethink its strategy isbased on the experience of running the project at its initialstages and on a continuous project evaluation the GalileeSociety staff has conducted. Part of this evaluation isbased on the recently completed analysis of the patientquestionnaires used since the beginning of the project. (1)Since this change in direction, the Health Rights Centerhas signed up some 60 patients from local doctors inTamra and this number may increase as more doctorsexpress interest. After finalizing which doctors willcooperate, a group meeting will be held to discuss boththe group patient program and the individual patientprogram.Initial collaboration on group meetings and workshopswith the main Kupat Holim Clalit health service provider inTamra has not attracted the number of participantsexpected. Working with the doctors who have privateclinics will allow the Galilee Society to emphasizedeveloping its individual patient program. This program isespecially important due to the fact that many patients willlikely have needs beyond what is provided by the groupprogram. Individual assistance, such as home visits, isalso likely to increase participation and positive resultswithin the group.In addition to this change in focus, the Health RightsCenter is also expanding the project to include the Arabtown of Tira in the center of Israel. In this location, theGalilee Societys Diabetes project has reached anagreement to work in cooperation with the Kupat HolimClalit and Maccabi providers there, showing that thepotential exists if institutions are properly coordinated.Thus far, around 200 suitable patients have beenidentified for the project in the town of Tamra.In order to raise awareness and put more emphasis onpreventive measures, the Health Rights Center is alsoinitiating an educational program on diabetes preventionin secondary schools in Tamra and Tira. This will serve as
a model project with the potential for nation-wideimplementation in the future.(1) A report detailing the results of this data analysis willbe available shortly.* Picture shows Mr. Mohammad Khatib, General ProgramDirector, and Ms. Hanan Mannaa’, Head of the HealthRights Center. They work together to coordinate theGalilee Society’s Diabetes project.Senior American Official Visits R&D CenterDr. John Marburger, Science Advisor to US PresidentGeorge Bush and Director of the Office of Science andTechnology Policy for the US Government(www.ostp.gov) visited The Galilee Society RegionalResearch and Development Center on 24 April 2006. Hewas accompanied by the OSTP Assistant to the Directorof International Relations, Ms. Joan Rolf, and Mr. RobertTansey from the American Embassy in Israel.Dr. Isam Sabbah, Scientific Director of the R&D Center,presented the activities and achievements of the Centerto the visitors. The Galilee Society Scientists alsodiscussed their individual research. Dr. Marburgerexpressed interest in R&D Center research andencouraged the scientists to seek more partnerships withUS Government institutions.Dr. Marburger holds a PhD in Applied Physics fromStanford University in California, USA. Prior to becomingScience Advisor, he served as the Director forBrookhaven National Laboratory, which conductsresearch in the physical, biomedical, and environmentalsciences, as well as in energy technologies and nationalsecurity. He also served as President of the StateUniversity of New York at Stony Brook.Dr. Marburger was in Israel to attend the 50th Anniversaryof the Fulbright Program. He thus took the opportunity tovisit the Galilee Society R&D Center, the New GenerationTechnology (NGT) Incubator Project, and to meet withofficials from Hebrew and Al-Quds Universities. Heindicated that he was very impressed with all of hismeetings.
* Picture shows Dr. Isam Sabbah, Scientific Director ofthe R&D Center, (right) and Dr. John Marburger.Other News in Brief and How to DonateR&D CENTER ACTIVITIES:- Ms. Razan Zuayter and Ms. Zeina Kwar, both on the Board of Directors of theArab Group for the Protection of Nature, visited The Galilee Society and Al-Maissam on April 18, 2006. Ms. Zuayter was interested in learning more about theCenters projects and programs and in finalizing her groups commitment to jointlyhost a conference on traditional Arab and Islamic medicine. To follow-up on thevisits of Ms. Razan Zuayter and Ms. Zeina Kwar, members from the R&D Center(including Dr. Hassan Azaizeh, Mr. Khaled Khalil, Dr. Isam Sabbah, Dr. Omar Said,and Ms. Arisha Ashraf) met with the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature(www.apnature.org) in Amman, Jordan on Tuesday, May 9, 2006. They discussedmore details on the Traditional Arab and Islamic Medicine Conference to be held inthe summer of 2007.- On Saturday, May 6th, Dr. Isam Sabbah, Scientific Director of the R&D Center,attended a conference on higher education in Nazareth. The Association of ArabLecturers & Investigators in Higher Education Institutes (ALQINDEL)(www.alqindel.com) held their first annual conference entitled “Higher Education &Research Among Arab Society in Israel”. ALQINDEL is a newly establishednetwork of Arab educators, researchers and students who seek to create greateropportunities in higher education for the Palestinian minority living in Israel. Thiscomplements the work of the Galilee Society R&D Center which trains andeducates young scientists. Dr. Sabbah presented the work of the R&D Centerduring this conference.NAQAB DEPARTMENT TEACHES HEALTH EDUCATION TO ILLITERATEWOMENIn a recent initiative, the Galilee Society Naqab Department is teaching healtheducation to illiterate women in the Bedouin village of Arara. The group includes 25women and the course focuses on general health education as well as breastcancer awareness.GALILEE SOCIETY DELEGATION TO TOUR THE UNITED STATESOn 3-12 June a delegation from the Galilee Society will be touring a number ofcities in the United States to meet with several individuals and organizations. Thedelegation is comprised of Dr. Basel Ghattas, General Director of the Galilee
Society, and Mr. Wael Omary, Chair of the Board, accompanied by Ms. RihamBarghouti, Coordinator of the Friends of the Galilee Society. It will be visiting anumber of major cities in the US including Sacremento, San Jose, San Diego, LasVegas, Chicago, and Washington D.C.The main objective of the visit is to strengthen ties with the local community in theUnited States, expand the Friends of the Galilee Society membership, and presentsome of the Society’s priority projects which are in need of funding. The Friends ofthe Galilee Society is working to promote two major projects that would greatlyenhance the work of the Galilee Society and meet some of its priority needs. Thetwo projects aim to support the Society’s Regional Research and DevelopmentCenter and Al-Maissam Medicinal Plant Center.During the delegation’s visit, a Board meeting for the Friends of the Galilee Societywill also be held.SHEFA-AMR GOES ONLINEThe town of Shefa-Amr launched a new public website in April (www.shefa-amr.com). This Arabic site is publicly accessible on the internet and the GalileeSociety intends to use it to inform Shefa-Amr residents and others of its activities.The site has already published an article on the visit from Dr. John Marburger,Science Advisor to US President George Bush and Director of the US Office ofScience and Technology Policy.DONATEHelp achieve equitable health, environmental, and socio-economic conditions anddevelopment opportunities for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel by supporting theGalilee Societys work.How to Donate to the Galilee SocietyTax-Exempt DonationsIn order to facilitate giving, the Galilee Society has recently received tax-exemptstatus in the United States, via the Friends of the Galilee Society. To donate in theUnited States, please make checks payable to the Friends of the Galilee Societyand send them to:Dr. Shouki KassisChair, Board of Directors7 Lee Road Audubon, PA 19403United StatesTel: +1 610 662 3693Bank transfers to the Friends of the Galilee Society can be made to the followingaccount:
Account Name: Friends of the Galilee SocietyBank Name: PNC BankBranch: Audubon Village Shopping CenterAccount Number: 86-0943-9642Please inform Friends of the Galilee Society of your donation: firstname.lastname@example.org.Direct DonationsTo donate to the Galilee Society directly, please send checks (in any currency)payable to the Galilee Society at:PO Box 330Shefa-Amr, 20200IsraelAlternatively, bank transfers (in any currency) can be made directly to the GalileeSocietys bank account.Account Name: The Galilee Society – The Arab National Society for HealthResearch and ServicesAccount no.: 9800Bank name: Bank HapoalimBranch no.: 731Bank address: Jabour Street, Shefa-Amr 20200, IsraelSWIFT code: POALILITPlease inform us of your donation at email@example.com.The Galilee Society - The Arab National Society for Health Research and Services is a leadingcommunity-based Arab NGO. The overriding goal of the Galilee Society is the achievement ofequitable health and socio-economic conditions for the Palestinian citizens of Israel.The Galilee SocietyP.O. Box 330, Shefa-Amr 20200, IsraelTel.: +972 4 986 1171Fax: +972 4 986 1173Email: firstname.lastname@example.org