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Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 22

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  1. 1. Galilee Society NewsletterIn This Issue: Issue 22, November 2006 s Project to Provide Emergency s HRC Conducts Study Day to Promote Telephone Support for Palestinian Diabetes Awareness Following Communities Affected by War Meets Completion of Research and Analysis with Success s Traditional Arabic Medicine: Members s GS Holds Summer Camp for Arab of the Chinese Embassy Visit the R&D Children from the War Zone Center s Legal Advocacy: The EJC Turns up the s News in Brief Heat on State to Remove Asbestos s How to Support the Galilee Society from Arab Primary School s Naqab Department Trains Bedouin Women and Educators to Prevent AccidentsProject to Provide Emergency Telephone Support for PalestinianCommunities Affected by War Meets with SuccessA committee created by the Galilee Societyand a group of Arab NGOs to provide supportto Arabs affected by the Israeli war onLebanon has recently begun a survey ofdamages inflicted on North Israel’s Arablocalities. The project was resultant frommeetings initiated and led by the GalileeSociety that addressed the lack of information Image from ataa48.organd emergency services provided by the stateto handle Arab material and emotionaldamages and legal problems resulting from the war.Despite their position in the path of Hezbollah rockets, Arab communities in Israel suffered fromthe complete absence of air raid shelters, sirens, information in Arabic, and access toemergency services. The state provided no psychological or legal support for Arabic speakers
  2. 2. despite their high concentration in war-affected areas. Arab communities were effectivelyabandoned by the state during the war and its aftermath.To combat this inequality, the Galilee Society and its partners created the Ataa (Arabic for “togive”) Line, a toll-free number created to provide legal and psychological support for Arabsresiding in war-struck villages. Citizens could access advice simply by dialing *2231 from anyphone, or on the web at to extensive promotion in Arab locales, the line was an immediate success, logging231 calls in the first three weeks alone. For 11 hours per day during the war and its aftermath,17 volunteers answered calls and dispensed advice and critical information to those sufferingfrom the war’s consequences. (Click here to read about how the Galilee Society honoredvolunteers.)Two trainings, led by professional lawyers and psychologists, were conducted in early Augustto assure that the 17 telephone operator volunteers were qualified to offer effective support.Complicated legal or psychological problems beyond the qualifications of volunteers wererelayed to a lawyer or psychologist.The committee and volunteers are currently conducting a survey of Arab villages affected bythe war. They plan to publish two reports, one concerning physical damage and oneexploring the psychological impact of the war.Funding for the project was provided by emergency support from the Ford Foundation and theOpen Society Institute. Partners in the project included, Adalah, the Ahali Center, the ArabCulture Association, the Arab Psychologists Association, Ittijah, and the Medical ReliefCommittee.GS Holds Summer Camp for Arab Children from the War ZoneThe Galilee Society Health Rights Center incooperation with the Arab CulturalAssociation and the Baladna Association,held a five-day summer camp in August forchildren who lived in villages struck byrockets during the July Israel-Hezbollah war.Held at the Seven Arches Hotel in Jerusalem,the camp provided children between the agesof 8-14 group therapy sessions, Arab culturalevents, and visits to area cultural institutions.The camp, according to Mohammad Khatib, Camp participantGeneral Program Director at the GalileeSociety, was held to provide the children ahealthy, psychologist-supervised forum to discuss the traumatic events of the war, as well as toprovide the children with a positive experience to replace the usual summer activities they hadmissed due to the war.“I think this camp was successful and achieved its objectives,” said Khatib. “We received a lot
  3. 3. of messages from participants families expressing their satisfaction based on their children’sfeedback.”In addition to the children invitees, fivefamilies who lost a family member to rocketattacks participated. Facilitators included 15volunteers from the North of Israel, GalileeSociety staff, and mental health professionalsinvited by the Galilee Society.Despite the horror of the participants’ sharedexperience living in the midst of war, thecamp succeeded in its objective of providinga positive and convivial diversion. Volunteersled visits to the Bloomfield Science Museum, Camp attendees participating in traditional Arab dancingthe Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, the Sport Centerat the Hebrew University, the old city and toMini Israel. In addition to these excursions, participants also enjoyed evening activities in thehotel, such as traditional Arab dance and theater.The secondary objective for the camp was to establish collaborative links between the GalileeSociety and Palestinian organizations. Partners for the camp included, Al Hakawati TheaterGroup, the Palestinian Center for Training, the Palestinian Group for Traditional Dancing, andthe Al Sanabel Theater Group.Funding for the camp came from participant tuition as well as from support from the Arab-American Welfare Association, and other sources.Legal Advocacy: The EJC Turns up the Heat on State to RemoveAsbestos from Arab Primary SchoolThe Environmental Justic Center (EJC) hassuccessfully advocated on behalf of a primaryschool in the Arab village of Majd Al-Kroum topressure the State to remove asbestos fromthe school’s ceilings. After receiving apetition from the EJC’s legal advocacy team,the Ministry of Education moved quickly toremove asbestos, a dangerous lung irritant,from the school.EJC representatives who met with theschool’s headmaster and Parent Teacher Ceiling damage in classrooms in the Al Salaam School. Ceiling damage allowsAssociation observed asbestos exposure due asbestos to become dilapidated ceilings throughout the school.The Ministry of Education specifically forbidsthe presence of asbestos in its facilities
  4. 4. Representatives from the school had notified the Ministry in April of 2006 of the problem, butdespite promises from the State that the asbestos would be removed by the end of theacademic year, the work was not completed by the time the Israeli war on Lebanon began inmid-JulyFollowing the cease-fire in mid-August, theEJC supported a proposed teacher strike toforce government action, and sent the petitionto the Ministries of Education andEnvironment. The State acted quickly toinitiate repairs to the school’s facilities,preventing the strike. Last month, the AlSalaam School’s Parent Teacher Associationreported to the Galilee Society that theasbestos has been removed from the school’sceilings.Asbestos, traditionally used as thermalinsulation or fire retardant, is made up ofmicroscopic bundles of fibers that maybecome airborne when asbestos-containingmaterials are damaged or disturbed.Exposure to asbestos is a potential health riskbecause airborne fibers can be inhaled andlodged in the lungs. Fibers embedded in the Ceiling damage in classrooms in the Allungs can cause serious lung diseases Salaam School. Ceiling damage allowsincluding lung and other cancers, according asbestos to become the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency( village of Majd Al-Kroum was struck repeatedly by Hezbollah-fired rockets during thesummer’s Israel-Hezbollah conflict.Naqab Department Trains Bedouin Women and Educators to PreventAccidents
  5. 5. The Galilee Society’s Naqab Department haslaunched a project to train Bedouin womenand schoolteachers in safety and first aid.Galilee Society Health Educators have heldtwo sessions attended by 15 Bedouin womenin the village of Abu Tlol in the Naqab tocombat preventable injuries in the home andat school. The program aims to conduct ten,one-hour sessions per village for Bedouinwomen, and three sessions total for teachers.Following the completion of the ten sessions Students in First Aid Coursein Abu Tlol, the Galilee Society will focus onthe village of Al Said, also in the Naqab.In addition to first aid and injury prevention instruction, the Galilee Society will provideparticipants with a first aid kit. Teachers will receive a larger, more comprehensive first aid kidto keep in the classroom.Curricula include topics such as where to keep dangerous materials, animal safety, firehazards, correct use of medicine, and the use of antihistamines to combat allergic reactions tobees and other potential allergens.This project corresponds to the Naqab’s goal to increase Arab Bedouin womens awareness ofgood health practices, such as personal and family hygiene, pre- and post-natal care, andproper nutrition.HRC Conducts Study Day to Promote Diabetes Awareness FollowingCompletion of Research and Analysis The HRC conducted a study day in November first to present data collected for a diabetes andcardiovascular disease (CVD) awareness project focused on the village of Tira.This research focused on a carefully selected target group of diagnosed diabetic and CVDpatients about the management and treatment of their conditions and resultant complications,and was conducted in two clinics, Clalit and Maccabi, in the central Israel village of Tira. Theresearch is part of a larger project to promote diabetes and CVD treatment throughout Arabcommunities in Israel.Project goals are to empower diabetic patients and their families and to empower civicinvolvement through identifying and maximizing community resources and health systemorganization. The project comprises capacity building workshops, research, and an advocacycampaign to promote the rights of patients to adequate and comprehensive health care.The study day brought together nearly 100 patients, health care professionals, and GalileeSociety staff to discuss the findings of the research and to promote awareness of diabetes. Theprogram included presentations by the General Director of the Galilee Society, the Mayor ofTira, a Tira physician, and representatives from the two surveyed clinics, Clalit and Maccabi. Inaddition, other activities were conducted to offer patients advice on the treatment and
  6. 6. monitoring of this disease.Traditional Arabic Medicine: Members of the Chinese Embassy Visit theR&D CenterMembers from the Chinese Embassy visitedthe Galilee Society R&D Center and AlMaissam on September 6th. The groupincluded Deputy Head of Mission, Ms. ZhangXiaoan; Science and Technology Counsellor,Mr. Feng Xuan; and Third Secretary, Mr. ChenDechun. The visitors came to discuss variousopportunities for collaboration with GalileeSociety Scientists. However, their focus wastraditional medicine and the overlap betweenthe Arabic and Chinese practices. Representatives of the Chinese Embassy with R&D Center and Al Maissam staffThe highlight of the visit was the trip to thebotanical gardens of Al Maissam. There, AlMaissam Director, Dr. Omar Said, and Mr.Yunatan Ritter guided the visitors through an ethnobotanical history of the region. It was clearduring the tour that Dr. Saids knowledge of Traditional Arabic Medicine is second nature,extending beyond his studies on the subject. His discussion reflected his comfort with thesubject matter, as he was able to weave a discussion between the scientific nomenclature andreal-life application of each plant. Mr. Ritter also engaged the visitors in a discussion ofvarious plant species.
  7. 7. This was the first such dialogue between theChinese Embassy and Israeli-Arab scientists.As such, it was a unique opportunity forintercultural exchange. Traditional ChineseMedicine scholars were formally invited to theFirst Regional Conference on TraditionalArabic and Islamic Medicine that the GalileeSociety is hosting in August 2007 in Amman,Jordan.Both Arabic and Chinese traditional medicineare holistic approaches that view an illness as Representatives of the Chinese Embassy with R&D Center and Al Maissam staffa deficiency in the balance of the entire bodysystem. Traditional Arabic medicine, alsoknown as Graeco-Arabic medicine, is basedon the concepts of four humors and energy/life force. The four humors are basic substances(originating from earth, fire, water and air) that make up the human body. When these are heldin balance, the life force is at its optimal strength. While the theories seem more abstract andcloser to alternative medicine, the methodologies employed in the Graeco-Arabic tradition arethe predecessors of modern allopathic medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine also follows atheory of balance to achieve optimal health and well being. The most well known of these isthe theory of yin (darker element) and yang (brighter element).News in BriefHRC: Recent and Upcoming HIV/AIDS ActivitiesThe Galilee Society conducted two workshops in the Triangle (central) region of Israel for 40high school students to promote HIV/AIDS awareness. The first workshop took place in KufuKaree’ on July 14 and the second took place in Reina on October 5.Two Representatives from the Church of Scotland, a faith-based organization based inEdinburgh, visited the Galilee Society Headquarters in Shefa ‘Amr on October 23. Tiberias-based Jen Zielinski and Jerusalem-based Rev. Jane Barron met with Galilee Society staff todiscuss the importance of promoting HIV/AIDS awareness in Israel and the particulardifficulties inherent in promoting awareness of a taboo disease in this culture that is at thesame time traditional and modern.The representatives said that Galilee Society research indicates that HIV/AIDS isn’t exclusivelyan African problem, and that there is need for HIV/AIDS work in the Arab world. Galilee Societystaff agreed with the representatives that much work remains to be done to promote HIV/AIDSprevention.The Church of Scotland has funded the Galilee Society’s HIV/AIDS project since 2004.EJC Announces Completion of Project to Facilitate Environmental HazardReporting: The GreenLine
  8. 8. The Environmental Justice Center hascreated an interactive form on the GalileeSociety website to facilitate the report ofenvironmental problems. Written in Arabicand accessible from the GS home page, theform allows citizens to convey concernsdirectly to the EJC’s legal advocacy team.EJC Initiates Scholarship Programto Encourage Environmental Studyin IsraelThe Environmental Justice Center hasinitiated a scholarship program to encourageenvironmental study for university schoolstudents in Israel.The program is open to all Israeli students The GreenLinestudying geography, environment, or health,and provides 2000 NIS ($467) to be appliedto school tuition. Candidates for the award are required to submit a proposal for a communityenvironmental project. Once accepted, the students have five months to implement his or herproject. The scholarship committee stipulated that projects must be related to environmentalconservation, and must involve pupils from school.Examples of accepted proposals are a green yard, a community environmental hazard report,and an aviary. The Galilee Society will report in this newsletter on student projects at the endof the five month period.Funding for the project comes from MISEREOR, the German Catholic Bishops’ Organization forDevelopment Cooperation.Galilee Society Headquarters Building Expansion Project Breaks GroundWorkers began construction in early October to add two new floors to the Galilee SocietyHeadquarters Building in Shefa ‘Amr, Israel. Mahmoud Al Hafaz Construction Company wonthe bid for the contract at the end of September and within weeks began to set up scaffolding inpreparation for construction. The first phase, which will create the load-bearing structure, isscheduled for completion in January 2007.The first floor will house the R&D center’s administrative offices and laboratories, and thesecond floor will be leased out to provide a constant stream of funding for the Galilee Society.New Board Members Elected and Volunteers Honored at October StaffMeeting and Ramadan CelebrationThe Galilee Society welcomed three new board members and honored volunteers at anOctober staff meeting. In addition to the official proceedings, those in attendance celebrated
  9. 9. Ramadan with a traditional break of the fast meal.More than 25 volunteers were also present at the event to be honored for their gracioussupport of Galilee Society activities. Nearly 95% of the volunteers were women. They werepresented with a certificate of appreciation by the Board of Directors. Organizations presentincluded the National Medical Relief Committee; Al Hali; Itija; Voice of the Employee; Adalah,the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel; and the Arab Psychological Organization.Of the three new board members, Dr. Iyad Jahshan is a gynecologist from Nazareth, Mr. AbedMsalha is a nurse in the French Hospital in Nazareth, and Ms. Rosland Daem is a lecturer inthe Arabic College for Education – Children’s Literature.Reelected members include Mr. Wael Omari, Ms. Souad Diab, Dr. Walid Kaddan, and Dr.Abdallah Shahin.The Galilee Society would like to wish its new elected board success and productivity.Naqab Department Successfully Petitions State to Provide Arab-LanguageClasses in Psychology and Special Needs EducationIn the Naqab Department’s ongoing efforts toimprove services to Arab-speaking residentswith special needs, it has successfully lobbiedthe State to offer psychology and specialneeds education courses in Arabic at theOpen University in Beer El Saba.This program marks the first time many ofthese courses have been offered in Arabic atthe University and is in line with the NaqabDepartment’s goal of launching healthadvocacy and outreach initiatives to secure Students at the Open Universityrights and services for the Arab Bedouincommunity in the Naqab.A group of 47 Arab students have registered to attend these special classes. The NaqabDepartment has pledged to work closely with the students to resolve problems and to offeremotional and financial support. The training of young, motivated, Arab-speaking promises toimprove educational opportunities for Arab-speaking special needs citizens of the Naqab.Naqab Department: New Pamphlets Aim to Promote Local Plant Use forFood and Medicine
  10. 10. The Naqab Department has produced fivedifferent pamphlets promoting the use of localplants in improving the health of the NaqabBedouin. These publications aim toscientifically present healthy, local, traditionalplants in order to combat the trend ofincreased consumption of processed foods byBedouin.Up to 5,000 copies of each pamphlet will beprinted and distributed to targeted groups, Brochure concerning garlics healthfulespecially women and educators involved in qualitiesthe Naqab Department’s early childhood andhealth education programs and patients at themobile health clinic.Examples of promoted foods include barley, ginger, garlic, and chamomile.Galilee Society R&D Scientists Active in the International ScientificCommunityDr. Isam Sabbah participated in the First Mediterranean Congress on Chemical Engineeringfor the Environment in Venice, Italy in October. He delivered a lecture entitled, “The Effect ofImmobilization on the Rate of Biodegradation of Phenol at High Concentrations,” whichpresented the outcomes of Nedal Massalhas MSc thesis work, supervised by Dr. Sabbah. Thelatter also published the results in a paper coauthored by Mr. Massalha and Dr. SobhiBasheer.On October 30, Dr. Hassan Azaizeh attended a conference in Amman, Jordan on the “EfficientManagement of Wastewater, Its Treatment, and Reuse in Mediterranean Countries,” hosted byEMWater. Dr. Azaizeh presented his joint research with Dr. Jeries Jadoun on alternativeenergy from agricultural waste. His talk was entitled, “Biogas Production in AnaerobicCodigestion of Olive Mill Wastewater and Swine Manure.”How to Support the Galilee SocietyHelp achieve equitable health, environmental, and socio-economic conditions anddevelopment opportunities for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel by supporting the GalileeSociety.How to Donate to the Galilee SocietyTax-Exempt DonationsIn order to facilitate giving, the Galilee Society has recently received tax-exempt status in theUnited States, via the Friends of the Galilee Society. To donate in the United States, pleasemake checks payable to the Friends of the Galilee Society and send them to:
  11. 11. Dr. Shouki KassisChair, Board of Directors7 Lee Road, Audubon, PA 19403United Stateskassis25@comcast.netTel: +1 610 662 3693Bank transfers to the Friends of the Galilee Society can be made to the following 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 DonationsTo donate to the Galilee Society directly, please send checks (in any currency) payable to theGalilee Society at:P.O. Box 330Shefa-Amr, 20200IsraelAlternatively, bank transfers (in any currency) can be made directly to the Galilee Societysbank account:Account Number: 9800Bank Name: Bank HapoalimBranch Number: 731Bank Address: Jabour Street, Shefa-Amr 20200 IsraelSWIFT Code: POALILITPlease inform us of your donation at Galilee Society - The Arab National Society for Health Research and Services is a leading disk utilitycommunity-based Arab NGO. The overriding goal of the Galilee Society is the achievement of equitablehealth 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: