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Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23

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  1. 1. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... Galilee Society Newsletter Seasons Greetings from the Galilee Society! In This Issue: Issue 23, December 2006 Symposium Celebrates Naqab Environmental Advocacy: Efforts Departments 15 Years of Service to Focus on Pesticide Use Near the Southern Bedouin Community Residential Area HRC Hosts Follow-up Study Day for R&D Center Hosts Pioneering HIV/AIDS Peer Educators Inventor of the "Electronic Nose" Interview: Peer Educators Discuss Cancer Diagnostic Technology HIV/AIDS Perceptions by Generation News in Brief How to Support the Galilee Society Symposium Celebrates Naqab Departments 15 Years of Service to the Southern Bedouin Community More than 200 dignitaries, supporters, and media attended the Naqab Department’s celebration of 15 years of service to Palestinian Bedouins from the Naqab on 29 November in Beer El Sabe’. Representatives from the local media covered the event for radio, print, and television, and Galilee Society General Director Dr. Basel Ghattas was interviewed for a local radio station.1 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM
  2. 2. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... A student receives recognition for scholarly The purpose of the event was to recognize research Naqab Department supporters and funders, to acknowledge accomplishments, and to promote activities in the media. Activities were launched with a speech by Mr. Wael Omari, the chairman of the Galilee Society Board, in which he highlighted the accomplishments of the Naqab Department to the region’s citizens. Mr. Adnan Said, Director of the Naqab Department, then summarized the activities of the Department during its 15 years. In particular, he stressed the transparency of the Department’s work, its ability to work locally as well as in a national context, and the role of the Department in improving the health and economic situation of the region’s Palestinians. He also cited the success of the mobile clinic in immunizing thousands of Naqab residents. Mr. Said then listed other accomplishments, such as health education lectures for teachers and Arab nurses and legal advocacy compelling the State to build health clinics. Dr. Ilana Bellmaker of the Ministry of Health delivered a speech discussing the health situation in the Naqab and in particular the unrecognized villages. She spoke of a region gravely lacking in opportunities for the young and in health infrastructure. Dr. Bellmaker then identified the successes of the Galilee Society in the Naqab to improve the basic health services. Mr. Hussein Arafaya, General Director of the Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages spoke about the region in a political context, arguing that Ariel Sharon’s policies led to the confiscation of Arab land and the demolition of Arab homes. Mr. Sheik Atia al Assam, from the Association of 40, an organization of the 40 unrecognized villages in the Naqab, spoke of the important role of the Galilee Society in the region. He said that the Galilee Society was unique in its solidarity with the Participants in the Naqab Departments 15th Anniversary celebration Association of 40. Dr. Basel Ghattas spoke passionately about the importance of the Naqab Department’s activities in the region. He outlined the goals of the Galilee Society in the Naqab, and expressed his hopes that its successes would continue long into the future. Following speeches, Galilee Society staff presented awards to representatives of ACSUR, the Naqab Department’s largest current funder. In addition, awards were presented to Galilee Society supporters and to Arab female students with achievements in academic research. HRC Hosts Follow-up Study Day for HIV/AIDS Peer Educators2 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM
  3. 3. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... More than 100 Arab high school students selected to be trained as peer HIV/AIDS educators participated in a Health Rights Center study day on 21 November at the Galilee Society headquarters. This event constitutes a follow-up to initial trainings conducted by the HRC that trained motivated students to act as positive and informed anti-AIDS advocates. HRC staff presented a range of activities including a filmed interview of an HIV positive woman and a feedback session where students shared their HIV/AIDS peer educator successes and setbacks. This session also provided students a forum to solicit advice from and provide feedback to HRC staff. Nine high schools from Arab and Jewish Consultant Mohammad Khatib (with localities were represented. Originally microphone) and HRC Director Hanan Mannaa limited to Galilee-area high schools, the at the conference project has expanded in Fall 2006 to include students from the Triangle and Naqab (Negev) regions. Beginning in 2005, the HRC has conducted seven initial trainings for a total of 132 students, 110 of which attended the November study day. In these trainings, the latest of which took place in October in the villages of Kufu Karee’ and Reina, subjects included general health, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS in particular, and methods for discussing these taboo issues. At the end of every workshop the Galilee Society provided every student with a training kit containing written materials and a Trained peer educators at the conference PowerPoint presentation on HIV/AIDS (hard copy and CD) in Arabic. Participating schools included: Iben Sena High School in Nahif; Maral Ihas High School in Ibilene; Alatine High School in Reni; El Scofia High School in Shefa-‘Amr; El Khoharismi High School in Tamara; Ort High School in Akko; a High School in Rami; a High School in Baanni; and Carmalite High School in Haifa. Interview: Peer Educators Discuss HIV/AIDS Perceptions by Generation3 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM
  4. 4. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... During the November 21 Study Day for Peer Educators at the Galilee Society Headquarters in Shefa-‘Amr, two Arab female Peer Educators spoke with Galilee Society staff about HIV/AIDS perceptions in their communities and their role in spreading awareness. The first student, Eljam Hadad, is a student at Carmelite High School in Haifa. The second student, Shereen Sirhan, is a student at Iben Sena High School in Nahif, a small village near the city of Karmi’el. Eljam Hadad, Carmelite High School student Q: In your opinion, is HIV/AIDS a problem in your community? R1: It is a big problem, in my opinion. We should have events such as the one today to know how to prevent diseases such as AIDS. R2: Sure, it is a problem in my community since we don’t have enough public knowledge, particularly in the Arab community. Q: Do young people discuss AIDS in your community? R1: Between friends in small groups, we get to the subject somehow. Not everyone has the same opinion about AIDS, and I hear many stereotypes and falsehoods about the disease. R2: We discuss AIDS in small groups in the village and in the family. But we don’t find awareness of the disease. People don’t care or want to discuss it. This study day – being able to discuss AIDS openly – is a new experience for me. If we share this experience with family and people in the village, they will find it appalling that we are discussing this issue. Shereen Sirhan, Iben Sena High School student Q: How is your parents’ perception of HIV/AIDS different from that of your generation? R1: My community [Haifa] is more open; we can discuss HIV/AIDS with our families. I don’t think there is a big difference, and I feel comfortable discussing HIV/AIDS with my family. R2: I am not comfortable talking with my parents about HIV/AIDS. They’re conservative, so this is not something I would discuss with them. The older generations believe that our community is far from being affected by HIV/AIDS, so it is not an important issue for them. Q: How do you define your role in HIV/AIDS awareness? R1: We had a similar study day at our school, but I think that every year there’s something new to learn – new advances or new discoveries. [When we committed to being peer4 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM
  5. 5. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... educators with the Galilee Society] we thought we could get new info and pass it on to the many people who were not aware. R2: I am here as a pupil to learn, and then I hope to enrich and to educate my colleagues, who I believe don’t have enough knowledge on the subject. Q: Do you consider this role a positive experience in your life? R2: It’s very positive. Environmental Advocacy: Efforts Focus on Pesticide Use Near Residential Area The EJC has launched a legal advocacy campaign to halt pesticide spraying by a Kibbutz near a kindergarten and homes in the Bedouin village of Arab Al Aramshy, located near the Lebanese border. The EJC learned of this serious health risk thanks to a tip submitted via the Galilee Society’s GreenLine, an online environmental problem-reporting tool. The EJC has sent a letter to the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, as well as to the Government body in charge of nature and gardens, and the governing body of the Kibbutz, requesting the termination of this practice. In the letter, the EJC identified three problems as a result of the spraying. First, the odor constitutes an imposition on the Map of Israel showing the location of Arab Al residents’ privacy; two, the pesticide toxicity Aramshy is a breach of residents’ right to a healthy environment; and three, the behavior violates a federal law forbidding the use of toxic materials within 50 meters of a residential area. R&D Center Hosts Pioneering Inventor of the “Electronic Nose” Cancer Diagnostic Technology The R&D Center hosted a lecture on 14 December by Dr. Houssam Haick on the subject of his groundbreaking artificial olfactory system, the “Electronic Nose,” which is capable of detecting cancerous cells by “sniffing” patients’ breath. More than 20 people, including R&D staff and scientists, Galilee Society staff, and scientists of various organizations, attended the event.5 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM
  6. 6. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... Dr. Haick, a researcher at Haifa Technion University’s Russel Berrie Department for Nanotechnology, has developed a technology that can theoretically detect lung cancer in its initial stage of development. The “Electronic Nose” could revolutionize the early detection of cancer, thereby improving rates of successful treatment. As a result of demonstrated success, the European Union has awarded Dr. Haick, a native of Nazareth, with a prestigious Marie Curie Excellence grant totaling $2.3 million, which is part of the EU’s effort to encourage promising young scientists. This grant is the largest ever received by an Israeli scientist. Dr. Haick’s breakthrough technology consists of nanometer-sized sensors that work in the same way as the human olfactory sense. In Dr. Haick’s system, the ultra-sensitive sensors transmit signals to a program for processing, whereas in the human olfactory sense, receptors in the nose send signals to the brain. Dr. Haick’s sensors can pick out cancerous cells and report them to a computer processor. The EU grant funds Dr. Haick’s project for four years, at the end of which he hopes to reach his goal of developing a cancer detecting device suitable for commercialization. News in Brief HRC Hosts Conference to Review HIV/AIDS Effects on Palestinians in Israel The Health Rights Center, in collaboration with the Israeli AIDS Taskforce, organized a conference at Galilee Society headquarters in Shefa Amr’ on 6 December to discuss the effect of HIV/AIDS in Israel’s Palestinian community. Speakers included Dr. Jamaal Hassoon, a specialist in infectious diseases at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Dr. Daniel Shemtov, General Director of Cellular Disease at the Ministry of Health, and Hanan Mannaa, Presentation by Dr. Gamal Hasson General Director of the HRC. Dr. Hassoon, with the aid of a visual presentation, gave a scientific overview of the effect of AIDS on the body. He also stressed the importance of education to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Shemtov took the opportunity to thank the Galilee Society for its work in health education. He presented official State statistics regarding HIV/AIDS prevalence in the Arab community in Israel. For example, he stated that 92 cases of HIV infection have been documented amongst Israeli Arabs, and that every year the State tests 250,000 Israelis for HIV. General Director Mannaa’ outlined HRC HIV/AIDS education projects, in which HRC staff travel to high schools to discuss the facts about HIV/AIDS with students, and a project, in6 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM
  7. 7. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... which standout students are trained to act as HIV/AIDS peer educators. Mannaa expressed concern at the reluctance of certain high school headmasters to discuss HIV/AIDS for fear of parent objections. However, she praised the courage of others to promote frank dialogue about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. Galilee Society General Director Attends London Biotechnology Networking Conference Galilee Society General Director Dr. Basel Ghattas attended a conference in December of Genesis IV, a biotechnology networking organization, in London. Dr. Ghattas represented Synthatex, a biotechnology firm associated with the R&D center that supplies unique specialty therapeutic compounds and molecules to the global pharmaceutical industry. In addition to representing Synthatex, the purpose of Dr. Ghattas attendance at the conference was to network with other biotechnology firms and other international companies and to meet with potential investors. Cohen Foundation Representatives Visit the Galilee Society Three representatives from the Naomi & Nehemiah Cohen Foundation visited with Galilee Society staff on 4 December and toured the organizations facilities. Stuart and Diane Brown and Alison McWilliams toured the Societys headquarters in Shefa- Amr as well its the sewage treatment pilot project, a project funded by the USAID Middle East Regional Cooperation Program (MERC), located in the village of Sakhnin, in Northern Israel. The Cohen Foundation currently provides funding for the Galilee Societys Core programs. Rikaz Staff Updates Databank with Latest Government Socio-Economic Statistics Rikaz staff updated the Databank in December with the most recent Government Labor Force Survey, thus assuring that the Databank contains the latest comparative data on socio-economic conditions in Israel. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) publishes their Labor Force Survey, which compiles data on the main socio-economic indicators for all Israelis, annually. The Rikaz Databank comprises both data collected by Rikaz on the socio-economic situation of Palestinians in Israel as well as government data, which is critical for7 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM
  8. 8. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... comparative analysis. The Databank Rikaz website contains official government statistics going back to 1989. Galilee Society Staff Meets for Annual Planning Session Galilee Society staff and R&D Center staff met separately on 11 December for daylong 2008 planning sessions. This year, discussion focused on improved financial monitoring and better inter-departmental communication. How to Support the Galilee Society Help achieve equitable health, environmental, and socio-economic conditions and development opportunities for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel by supporting the Galilee Society. How to Donate to the Galilee Society Tax-Exempt Donations In 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 Friends of the Galilee Society and send them to: Dr. Shouki Kassis Chair, Board of Directors 7 Lee Road, Audubon, PA 19403 United States Tel: +1 610 662 3693 Bank transfers to the Friends of the Galilee Society can be made to the following account: Account Name: Friends of the Galilee Society Bank Name: PNC Bank Branch: Audubon Village Shopping Center Account Number: 86-0943-9642 Please inform Friends of the Galilee Society of your donation: Direct Donations To donate to the Galilee Society directly, please send checks (in any currency) payable to the Galilee Society at: P.O. Box 330 Shefa-Amr, 20200 Israel Alternatively, bank transfers (in any currency) can be made directly to the Galilee Societys bank account:8 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM
  9. 9. Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 23 - December, 2006 file:///Users/Chris/Documents/Work%20Files/Galilee%20Society/N... Account Number: 9800 Bank Name: Bank Hapoalim Branch Number: 731 Bank Address: Jabour Street, Shefa-Amr 20200 Israel SWIFT Code: POALILIT Please inform us of your donation at The Galilee Society - The Arab National Society for Health Research and Services is a leading disk utility community-based Arab NGO. The overriding goal of the Galilee Society is the achievement of equitable health and socio-economic conditions for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Galilee Society P.O. Box 330, Shefa-Amr 20200, Israel Tel.: +972 4 986 1171 Fax: +972 4 986 1173 Email: admin@gal-soc.org9 of 9 1/4/07 9:58 AM