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Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 21

Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 21

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  • 1. The Galilee Society NewsletterIn This Issue: Issue 21, August 2006 • Arab Population in Northern Israel Suffers Heavy Losses in Israel’s • Women in Science War in Lebanon • The Galilee Society Sets up Crisis • New, Free Way to Give to the Center Galilee Society! • The Galilee Society Tours the • Other News in Brief and How to United States DonateArab Population in Northern Israel Suffers HeavyLosses in Israel’s War in LebanonFor the past four weeks, the population of northernIsrael has suffered the consequences of Israel’s waragainst Hizbollah forces in southern Lebanon. Thewar has taken its toll on both parties and althoughfar fewer civilians have been killed and displaced inIsrael than in Lebanon, the psychological andeconomic toll is nevertheless great. All aspects oflife have been disrupted in northern Israel as peoplein the region take refuge in shelters.Under heavy Israeli bombardment Hizbollah forceshave responded by firing more than 3000 rocketsinto northern Israel, killing at least 37 civilians andinjuring many more. Since around 50% of thepopulation in this part of the country is Arab manyArab localities have also been bombed and Arabhomes damaged. Many of those killed and injuredby Hizbollah rockets in Israel were also Arabs.The Arab community in Israel is a relativelyvulnerable population group which has access to farfewer services than the Jewish majority. In many
  • 2. Arab communities there are, for example, no air raidsirens or public bomb shelters, and few buildingseven have private shelters or safe rooms. In manycases, the mayors have asked for these things to beinstalled, but the government has ignored theirrequests. In Nazareth, the biggest Arab city in Israel,no air raid sirens were installed until after two youngArab boys, Rabia and Mohammed Abu Taluzi, werekilled in rocket attacks two weeks ago.In addition to the loss of life and psychological strainthe situation causes, the economic consequencesare also severe for the disadvantaged Arab minority.Many are losing income as they are not able toattend work as usual, and some may even be firedas a result. Arabs also typically have problemsobtaining compensation from the government fordamaging acts of violence and war, although theymay be affected the same as others.The Galilee Society Sets up Crisis CenterIn response to the war between Israel and Hizbollah,the Galilee Society has decided to set up anemergency services center for the underserved Arabpopulation of northern Israel. This Ataa 48 CrisisCenter is a joint initiative between the GalileeSociety, Adalah, Sawt Elamel, the ArabPsychological Association in Israel, al-Ahali andother organizations. The motivation behind setting itup was that the Arab citizens of Israel continuereceiving inferior care and compensation, despitebeing heavily affected by the war.It is important that social services be made availablespecifically for the Palestinian community in Israel,as they often have different circumstances, linguisticneeds, and other obstacles preventing them forseeking help from outside sources. In theory, theseservices should be provided by the local authorities,but they severely lack the necessary funding andtraining to make this a viable option. The currentemergency conditions, coupled with the lack of anational center for public information and guidance,
  • 3. creates an urgent need for coordinated efforts toprovide more services.The Crisis Center set up by the Galilee Societyconsists of a crisis call center offering help andguidance in Arabic. Basic information is availabledirectly from the emergency operators whereasmore specific questions are referred to one of theexperts constantly on call. Psychologists and socialworkers help people deal with the psycho-socialstrain of the war, especially the effects on children,whereas lawyers advise people on such matters aslegal compensation and damages, as well asemployment and worker rights.The staff and volunteers involved with the CrisisCenter have also conducted field visits to thevillages affected by Hizbollah rocket fire, in order togather first hand information about the situation ofthe local Arab population. Through these visitsinformation has been gathered regarding thematerial damage caused by the war, allowing thoseinvolved to provide assistance and legal adviceregarding compensation. Visits were also made tothe families of this killed in rocket attacks.In connection to this project, the Galilee Society isalso running a public awareness campaign in orderto inform Palestinians in Israel about issues ofsafety, rights and other critical issues. This will bedone through a variety of media, including a websiteset up especially for the information center,containing guidance, details about the crisis hotlineand other relevant information.The Galilee Society Tours the United StatesOn 2-12 June 2006 a tour was conducted in theUnited States by Mr. Wael Omary, Chair of theBoard of the Galilee Society, Dr. Basel Ghattas,General Director of the Galilee Society and Ms.Riham Barghouti, Coordinator of the Friends of theGalilee Society. The aim of the tour was todisseminate information about the work of the
  • 4. Galilee Society and to promote the newlyestablished Friends of the Galilee Society to garnermembership and advance key projects.During the tour, a number of gatherings andmeetings were held with Palestinian and other ArabAmericans in six cities in the United States, includingSan Jose (CA), Sacramento (CA), San Diego (CA),Las Vegas (NV), Chicago (IL) and Rockville (MD).With the assistance of community leaders in eachlocation, a total of more than 100 people attendedthe gatherings, making the tour quite a success.The gatherings consisted of introductory remarksmade by Mr. Wael Omary, followed by a PowerPointPresentation providing a detailed overview of thework of the Galilee Society since its establishment in1981, given by Dr. Basel Ghattas. Where possible, ashort film was also shown about Al Maissam – TheMedicinal Plant Center. Brochures about the Friendsof the Galilee Society and about the plannedconstruction to expand the Galilee Society MainOffice in order to house the Research andDevelopment Center were also distributed. A plaquewas presented to the event organizers in each city inappreciation of their efforts.During the tour, the Friends of the Galilee Societywas able to enroll some new members and createlinks with other Arab-American organizations. Forexample the Galilee Society’s General Director wasinvited to attend the National Arab American MedicalAssociation (NAAMA) International Convention inJordan on 1-6 July 2006. At the end of the tour, theBoard of Directors of the Friends of the GalileeSociety held a meeting to discuss the futuredevelopment of the organization.Preparations are currently underway to organize thenext tour. Tentatively scheduled visits in the fallinclude Florida, Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina,Washington and Massachusetts. The Friends of theGalilee Society is also in the process of setting up awebsite to provide updated information about the
  • 5. Friends of the Galilee Society and how individualscan become members.To become a Friend of the Galilee Society, pleasecontact Ms. Riham Barghouti at rbarghouti@gal-soc.org and receive your membership materials andmore!Women in ScienceThe R&D Center has always made an effort toprovide research opportunities for female scientists,readily apparent by the number of young femalescientists working at the Center. There are currentlyfive female junior scientists out of ten total juniorresearchers and one female research intern.Yet, there are concerns about the role of women inscience in the Arab sector of Israel, and the future offemale scientists in the R&D Center in particular."We are often asked why we do not have femalePhD students working in the R&D Center," saysScientific Director, Dr. Isam Sabbah, referring to thequestions asked by various international visitors tothe Center. "I tell them that this is not a case uniqueto the Arab sector in Israel. When I was completingmy PhD research in Environmental Engineering atThe Technion Institute in Haifa, there were fewfemale students in my field and only one femaleprofessor", Dr. Sabbah says. As the trend slowlyshifts to a higher amount of females pursuingscience PhDs, he envisions hiring a female SeniorResearcher. An effort was made in the past, but itwas difficult to find local female candidates thatmatched the research needs of the R&D Center. Itwas also difficult to channel the resources to hire anew researcher.Statistics indicate that there is indeed a very smallpool of candidates. Rikaz, the Galilee Society’sstatistical databank for the Palestinian minority inIsrael, suggests that only 1.5% of Palestinianwomen in Israel between 35 and 44 hold a collegedegree or above in Engineering, and only 0.9% in
  • 6. the Physical Sciences. No data was collected for theBiological Sciences in this age group. As acomparison, 35.8% of women within this age grouphold a college degree or above in Education andTeacher Training. Although the survey is only asample of the Arab population in Israel, it was takenfrom a large, representative sample and presents afair picture of the size of the R&D Center’s candidatepool.When asked for their opinion on why so few womenpursue advanced degrees in the sciences, many ofthe young female scientists in the R&D Centersuggested that it is a question of self-selection.Women tend to prefer a career in a less demandingfield in order to have more time for family life. Thisresponse is not surprising, and could be extended tomost of the world. Susanne Grund, a biologistresearching at the R&D Center from Germany,suggested that this was certainly the popular beliefin Western Europe. Only one of the current femaleresearchers, Ahlam Saliba, has children. Sheemphasized that it is quite challenging to find abalance between work and family life.Apart from the obvious constraints it has for womenwith children, Maisa Gamal Haj, a chemicalengineer, suggested that there are misconceptionsassociated with science that give the impression thatall sciences are the arena of men. By way ofexample, she said that chemical engineering mayrequire a certain amount of physical strength thatsome women may find challenging, and thisbecomes generalized to all areas of chemistry andengineering. Bernadette Soudah-Abou Atta, a foodengineer, also pointed to the difficulty for Arabcitizens, male and female, to find work in advancedprofessions in Israel. A PhD does not necessarilymake them more competitive, and may even presentfewer opportunities for finding an appropriate job.The female scientists in the R&D Center also brieflydiscussed why they chose their course of study andwhat their future career plans are. Most pursued
  • 7. science because of a genuine interest in theirrespective fields (Chemistry, Biochemistry,Nutritional Science and Environmental Science).This reply is, of course, coated with a fair amount ofmodesty. To pursue higher education in thesciences, they would also need high scores on theirBagrut, the Israeli high school matriculation exam.Because all of the female scientists in the R&DCenter are young, falling in the 25-35 age bracket,higher education is quite likely. Some evenmentioned going as far as the PhD level in theircurrent fields. These women recognize that it isdifficult to raise a family and pursue higher scienceeducation. They know that they are adding to theirchallenges, not subtracting from them. They are yetanother example of Middle Eastern resilience.PROFILES:Maisa Gamal Haj recently received her BSc inChemical Engineering from the Technion Institute.She is currently working for Nano BrachytherapyLtd., a start-up company owned by Dr. SobhiBasheer, to develop medicine for cancer that willtreat the tumor without affecting other cells in thehuman body.Susanne Grund holds an MSc in Agrobiology fromthe University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany.She is working on a research internship with Dr.Hassan Azaizeh on sustainable fermentation of olivemill wastewater for small units of production.Seba Jwabra received her MSc in MedicinalChemistry and BSc in Chemistry from HebrewUniversity in Jerusalem, Israel. She is currentlyresearching with Synthatex Fine Chemicals Ltd., aprivate company started by Dr. Ahmad Yazbak thatis based in The Galilee Society R&D Center. Jwabrais involved in preparing isonitrile compounds for useas building blocks in pharmaceutical chemistry, andin preparing a small molecular library.
  • 8. Ahlam Saliba studied Chemical Engineering fromthe Technion Institute, and is currently completing aBSc in Biology from Open University (located inHaifa and Tel Aviv). She is researching with Dr.Isam Sabbah on wastewater treatment from theR&D Center pilot site in Sakhnin. She is also sworking to develop a service lab for chemical andbiological tests for water and wastewater.Bernadette Soudah-AbouATTA holds a BSc in FoodEngineering and Biotechnology from the TechnionInstitute. She is currently researching with Dr.Bashaar Saad to determine the effect of medicinalplants on various diseases, including psoriasis.Ahlam Suleiman recently joined Synthatex FineChemicals Ltd. She received her MSc in MedicinalChemistry from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.In addition, the R&D Center supervised AnaheedSarawan in her MSc research. Under thesupervision of Dr. Hassan Azaizeh, Dr. JeriesJadoun and other researchers, Sarawansuccessfully completed her MSc in Microbiologyfrom Haifa University on bacterial microbes that liveinside the plant tissue of carob trees.New, Free Way to Give to the Galilee Society!Now, every time you make an online purchase throughyour favorite stores, the Galilee Society can earn up to26% of your purchase! This is available by using anexciting service called I Give, a charity portal whicharranges donations from businesses.How you can be sure the Galilee Society receives adonation from your usual shopping:1) Go to www.iGive.com and set up a personal account(takes just a minute)2) Set Friends of the Galilee Society as your charity3) Whenever you do your on-line shopping, make sure
  • 9. you are logged into your I Give account. You can eitherlog on and click on the stores link from the I Givewebsite, or you can download a toolbar which willautomatically recognize participating sites!Additionally, when you shop from E-bay, you can earn adonation of about 5$ if you sign up for a new e-bayaccount through www.igive.com and make a bid on anitem within 30 days.There are over 600 participating businesses. Purchasesof plane tickets, telephone services, groceries, clothing,cosmetics, sport equipment, music, hotel reservations,test preparation courses, office supplies, and more, canearn donations to the Galilee Society. Stores include: E-bay, Barnes and Noble, Office Depot, Old Navy, Sprint,Expedia, Starbucks, The Body Shop, The Wall StreetJournal, Avon, Lancome, and Radisson Hotels. For a fulllist, visit http://www.igive.com/html/faqs.cfmOther News in Brief and How to DonateNAQAB DEPARTMENT AND THE OPEN UNIVERSITY TO PROVIDE BACOURSE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION FOR BEDOUIN WOMENThe Galilee Society Naqab Department recently made an agreement withthe Open University to set up a BA program in special education forBedouin women in the Naqab. The aim of this project is to improve the levelof education available for local kindergarten assistants. Twenty-five women,who previously completed the Galilee Society’s Kindergarten Assistancecourse, will take part in the first course which will begin in October.ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE CENTER TAKES UP CRITICAL SEWAGECASE IN TAYBEHThe Galilee Society Environmental Justice Center was recently alerted tothe complete lack of a sewage treatment system in the Arab town ofTaybeh in the center of Israel.Inadequate sewage facilities are a common problem in Arab towns andvillages in Israel, with sewage regularly flowing in public places, causingepidemiological diseases, water pollution and environmental degradation.The situation documented by the Center’s staff during a visit to Taybeh wascritical and worse than the average Arab town.
  • 10. Taybeh, situated approximately 20km from Tel Aviv, is one of the largestArab towns in Israel and yet no sewage treatment system has been put inplace. Seeing as Taybeh is surrounded by Jewish towns which all haveappropriate sewage facilities, this constitutes a clear case of discriminationagainst the Arab minority in Israel. The Center is therefore initiating acampaign to pressure the responsible authorities to rectify the problem.R&D ACTIVITIESOn July 13th, Ken Ferguson, Chair of the US-Israel Binational ScienceFoundation (BSF), visited the R&D Center. He was accompanied byRosemary Gieseke of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. According toFerguson, he was on a "fact-finding mission" to assess the potentialresearch contributions Arab scientific research organizations in Israel couldmake to the Binational Science Foundation. He selected the R&D Centerfor his visit because it is one of two research and development institutesrecognized by the Israeli Ministry of Science that focuses on issues relatedto the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. The BSF (www.bsf.org.il) wasestablished in 1972 as a joint initiative of the US and Israeli governments,to foster scientific collaboration between researchers in both countries. Thevisitors toured the R&D Center laboratories, and expressed interest in theenvironmental biotechnology research conducted there. Ferguson wasparticularly impressed with the R&D Center innovative wastewater streatment research.On Thursday, June 29th, five members of Ort Braude College in Carmiel,Israel (http://braude.ac.il) visited the R&D Center. The group included Dr.Shmaryahu Rozner (President of the College), Dr. Yohanan Arzi (VicePresident of Academic Affairs), Dr. Rosa Azhari (Head of Biotechnologyand Engineering), Mr. Yacoub Al Malech (Head of Ashkolot, R&D Branch ofOrt Braude) and Dr. Ehud Kroll (Head of Mechanical Engineering). Thegroup discussed forming a strategic partnership with the R&D Centerthrough joint proposals and adjunct professorships. Their visit also includeda tour of R&D Center laboratories.DONATEHelp achieve equitable health, environmental, and socio-economicconditions and development opportunities for Palestinian Arab citizens ofIsrael by supporting the Galilee Society work. sHow to Donate to the Galilee Society
  • 11. Tax-Exempt DonationsIn order to facilitate giving, the Galilee Society has recently received tax-exempt status in the United States, via the Friends of the Galilee Society.To donate in the United States, please make checks payable to the Friendsof the Galilee Society and 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 thefollowing account: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:rbarghouti@gal-soc.org.Direct DonationsTo donate to the Galilee Society directly, please send checks (in anycurrency) payable to the Galilee Society at:PO Box 330Shefa-Amr, 20200IsraelAlternatively, bank transfers (in any currency) can be made directly to theGalilee Society bank account. sAccount Name: The Galilee Society – The Arab National Society for HealthResearchand ServicesAccount no.: 9800Bank name: Bank HapoalimBranch no.: 731Bank address: Jabour Street, Shefa-Amr 20200, IsraelSWIFT code: POALILITPlease inform us of your donation at fnassar@gal-soc.org
  • 12. The Galilee Society - The Arab National Society for Health Research and Servicesis a leading community-based Arab NGO. The overriding goal of the GalileeSociety is the achievement of equitable health and socio-economic conditions forthe Palestinian citizens of Israel.The Galilee SocietyP.O. Box 330, Shefa-Amr 20200, IsraelTel.: +972 4 986 1171Fax: +972 4 986 1173Email: admin@gal-soc.org