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Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 26

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  1. 1. The Galilee Society Newsletter In This Issue: Issue 25, May 2007< EJC: Beach Cleanup Promotes Environmental < Al-Maissam Holds Open Day for Environment Responsibility and Heritage for Arab Students Teachers< Galilee Society P.R. Efforts Result in Use of < Minister of Science, Culture & Sport Im- Rikaz Data by Religious Leader pressedby Applied Research Institute Visit< Seven Arab Masters Students Receive Galilee < News in Brief Society Scholarships to Conduct Public Health < How to Support the Galilee Society Projects EJC: Beach Cleanup Promotes Environmental Responsibility and Heritage for Arab StudentsThe Galilee Society’s Environmental Justice Center Arab patrimony in Israel.(EJC) led a group of 60 Arab high school studentsto clean up the beach bordering the last remaining On June 1st, students from Shefa ‘Amr and EJC staffArab coastal village, instilling in the students the rode a Galilee Society-rented bus to the village ofimportance of a clean environment and of respecting Jeser el Zarka, the only coastal village in Israel with Page 1
  2. 2. an entirely Arab population. Upon arrival in Jeserel Zarka, the group met up with students from thelocal high school.The goals for the cleanup were to impress onstudents their obligation to respect Arab patrimony,the importance of a clean environment, and topromote cooperation between students of differentbackgrounds. Arab students participating in the Galilee Society’s beachBefore the cleanup began, Galilee Society cleanupEnvironmental Lawyer Shadi Azzam led a discussionwith the students on the importance of valuing Arab event by several local businesses. The Arab-Israeliheritage, especially given the Arabs’ minority status Bank donated caps and Sobneh Nahlee, Ltd, a localin Israel. Jeser el Zarka is the one remaining entirely coffee seller, provided t-shirts.Arab village on the coast of Israel, he said, andtherefore merits respect and special consideration. Students collected all the rubbish they could in a one-kilometer by 20-meter area, amassing 20 largeAzzam also discussed with the students their plastic bags of garbage, which were delivered to aobligation to appreciate a clean environment, landfill.impressing on them a sense of civic responsibility toprotect a right frequently taken for granted. “This activity was successful on two levels,” said Azzam. “First, that students from Shefa ‘Amr andThe Galilee Society organized sponsorship of the Jeser el Zarka worked successfully together. Second, that we were able to show the students the importance of protecting their environment and their culture.” Many schools other than the two participating had expressed interest in participating in the activity but could not because of exam schedules. Due to the activity’s success, EJC staff has expressed interest in repeating the activity not only at the Jeser el Zarka beach, but at other Arab natural areas, such as valleys,Arab students participating in the Galilee Society’s beach forests, and streams.cleanup Page 2
  3. 3. Galilee Society P.R. Efforts Result in Use of Rikaz Data by Religious LeaderExpanded efforts by the Galilee Society to engagethe regional media, as part of the GS public relationsstrategy, have resulted in the use of Rikaz data by areligious leader in health-related sermons.The Imam of Sakhnin, a primarily Muslim townin the subdistrict of Akko, cited Rikaz statisticsregarding the incidence and effects of cigarettesmoking in the Palestinian community in Israel.Several Arabic-language newspapers in the regionpublished the statistics based on a Galilee Societypress release distributed on World No Tobacco Day Screenshot of a news article on an Arabic-language newson 29 May 2007. website about a Galilee Society activityThe Imam, the regional Islamic authority, is highly on health and environment and with didacticrespected by the community both for religious materials that explain how to educate people onguidance as well as advice on health and morality. these subjects.The use of Rikaz statistics by such an esteemed leadershows the public’s growing respect for the integrity The Galilee Society’s expanded public relationsof both Rikaz and the Galilee Society. efforts aim to promote activities and to disseminate Rikaz data, thereby empowering Palestinians in IsraelDue to this successful application of Rikaz data to and their advocates to improve the Arab minority’sempower Palestinians to improve their health, the health, socio-economic situation, and marginalizedGalilee Society plans to collaborate with regional status.religious leaders, providing Rikaz-generated reports Page 3
  4. 4. Seven Arab Masters Students Receive Galilee Society Scholarships to Conduct Public Health ProjectsThe Health Rights Center (HRC) has awarded six In order to support the students in their projects,Arab Masters in Public Health students scholarships the Galilee Society held a workshop on 4 May 2007for outstanding academic achievement and the for the scholarship recipients, in which methods forcompletion of a community health project. implementing public health projects were discussed.The six students received the first installment This capacity building effort will train youngof 2,000 NIS ($500) after submitting proposals Palestinians on the value of health maintenance andfor community health projects, which they will awareness.implement this summer. At the completion of theproject and following the submission of a final report At the end of the project, the Galilee Society willin July 2007, the students will receive the scholarship produce a publication detailing all the individualbalance. projects carried out by the scholarship recipients.The students and projects are as follows: Name Project Waleed Shalata Childhood Obesity Tharwat Yasseen Hypertension in the El- derly Ghazala Khatib Reducing Accidents Nasser Badarna Health Effects of Nargila (Water Pipe) Smoking Scholarship recipients with Galilee Society Consultant Mo- hammed Khatib, General Program Director Dr. Naim Karim, Amira Isarakra Reducing Accidents and Chairman of the Board Wael Omari Kheir Omari The use of seatbelts among Arab children Page 4
  5. 5. Al-Maissam Holds Open Day for Environment TeachersAl-Maissam Medicinal Plants Center held an openday for environment teachers on 12 May, attendedby Inspector of Environmental Courses from theMinistry of Education, Dr. Medhat Ossman.Dr. Ossman gave a lecture in which he presentedthe latest updates in national exams related to theenvironment. He also highlighted the importance Participants in Al-Maissam’s open day for Environmentalof considering the needs of students with learning Teachersdisabilities, to give them additional time to completeexams, for example. presented Al-Maissam’s activities, especially its Young Researchers project, in which high schoolDr. Naim Karim, Galilee Society General Program students attend a series of 13 meetings where theyDirector, and Dr. Omar Said, founder of Al- participate in science classes and laboratory work.Maissam and specialist in Arab-Islamic medicine, They prepare and implement research proposals with the assistance of Al-Maissam’s trainers, using the center’s facilities. At the end of the course, students present their research results at Al-Maissam and in their own schools. Dr. Said spoke about the importance of Al-Maissam in encouraging environmental and scientific study by young people in Israel, especially for the Arab minority.Dr. Naim Karim with environment teachers Page 5
  6. 6. Minister of Science, Culture & Sport Impressed by Applied Research Institute VisitIsraeli Minister of Science, Culture & SportGhaleb Majadle, in a June visit to the GalileeSociety Institute for Applied Research (formerlythe Regional Research & Development Center),expressed his appreciation of the Institute’s researchquality and scope and promised to explore increasesin government funding.The Minister was joined by the ministry’s mainscientist, Dr. Mina Tyher, who expressed her From left, deputy of the mayor of Shefa-’Amr, Minister of Science, Culture & Sport Ghaleb Majadle, and Shefa-’Amramazement at the Institute’s accomplishments. Mayor Orsan YesseenThe Minister’s visit was joined by the Galilee During the visit, the Minister learned about theSociety’s Chairman of the Board, Wael Omari, Institute’s in-house and field research, history,General Director Dr. Basel Ghattas, Institute staff, and accomplishments, in order to learn about theand the Mayor of Shefa ‘Amr. Institute’s role in Arab society in Israel. News in BriefAsbestos: Fire in Condemned Classrooms Aerates Asbestos into Arab VillageA fire at the Omar Eben Kataab School in Majd asbestos into the air and threatening the health ofel Kroum, where Environmental Justice Center students and Majd el Kroum citizens. The Worldpressure had previously resulted in a promise by the Health Organization has identified asbestos as agovernment to remove asbestos from classrooms, dangerous carcinogen, maintaining that breathingresulted last month in the extensive burning of this asbestos can increase the risk of cancer. Whenstill present carcinogenic substance. asbestos burns, it enters the air, where it can be respired into the lungs.The fire, which school officials speculate to be theresult of arson, tore through the classrooms, sending Previous Environmental Justice Center legal Page 6
  7. 7. advocacy resulted in action taken by the school to risk of the aerated asbestos in Majd el Kroum.remove the asbestos. A bid for contractors had been The Environmental Justice Center received apublished but work had not yet begun when the fire prompt reply that the letter had been referred tostruck. the Development Department of the Ministry of Education where the problem would be dutifullyImmediately following the fire, the Environmental resolved. The Environmental Justice Center willJustice Center sent an urgent letter to the local continue to monitor the progress at the Omar Ebenauthority and the Ministries of Education and Kataab school carefully.Environment to alert them to the significant healthGS Celebrates Graduation of Third Preschool Teaching Assistants ClassThe Naqab Department celebrated the graduation the Galilee Society’s intent to continue the projectof its third group of preschool teaching assistants at and to focus Naqab Department attention onKay College in Beer el Sabe’ last month. supporting preschool education in the Naqab.The 44 female students, their parents, special guests, Graduates were presented with diplomas from theand Naqab Department staff attended the ceremony. Galilee Society and Kay College as well as first aidRenda Zrek, Preschool Inspector for the Ministry of kits, the value of which was 5,000 NIS ($1,250).Education gave a speech in which she praised thePreschool Training Assistants program, saying that Since the project’s inception, 17 graduates of Galileeit raised the quality of preschool instruction. Society Preschool Teaching Assistants program have been employed in preschools recently opened by theAdnan Sa’id, Naqab Department Director, declared Israeli government.GS Co-founder Still Supporting Organization, 26 Years LaterGalilee Society Co-founder Dr. Runa Mackay that founded the Galilee Society. We wish to expressrecently made a donation to the organization after our gratitude for Dr. Mackay’s original vision for thereceiving the May 2007 newsletter. In 1981, Dr. organization and ongoing support.Mackay was one of the four healthcare professionals Page 7
  8. 8. GS Staff Engages with GS Members with Two Round Table MeetingsGalilee Society staff held two separate round tablemeetings with the organization’s members lastmonth in order to reach out to new members andto improve communications between the GalileeSociety and its members.One meeting was held in Nazareth at the home ofDr. Khalid Suleyman, and the other in Jat, at thehome of Dr. Ziyad Khalaileeya. Galilee Society General Director Dr. Basel Ghattas (right) with Galilee Society membersGalilee Society General Director Dr. Basel Ghattasspoke at the meetings, providing prospective and accomplishments and current projects. Staffcurrent members an overview of the organization’s distributed various Galilee Society publications.Galilee Society and Mada al-Carmel Host Seminar on Weapons of Mass DestructionThe Galilee Society and Mada al-Carmel – The Hill, International Coordinator for the InternationalArab Center for Applied Social Research – hosted a Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)special seminar on 21 June on the subject of weapons and the International Physicians for the Preventionof mass destruction. of Nuclear War (IPPNW).The seminar, entitled “Weapons of Mass Destruction: The seminar, attended by local community members,Between Local, Regional and Global,” featured representatives of NGOs, and Galilee Society staff,lectures by Merav Datan, Middle East Political took place in the conference room at the GalileeAdvisor for Greenpeace International, and Felicity Society headquarters in Shefa-‘Amr. Page 8
  9. 9. Galilee Society Headquarters Building Expansion Project in Full SwingArchitect’s drawing of complete project Construction progress as of May, 2007Workers began construction in earnest last month building in another part of Shefa ‘ add two new floors to the Galilee SocietyHeadquarters Building in Shefa ‘Amr, Israel. This expansion will facilitate inter-organizationalMahmoud Al Hafaz Construction Company won communication, increase integration of researchthe bid for the contract. and development activities with social programs and advocacy, and reduce overhead costs. In addition,The new part of the building will be home to the Galilee this project provides an opportunity for support fromSociety Institute of Applied Research (formerly called donors who believe in the Galilee Society’s missionthe Regional Research & Development Center), and the need to aid the Palestinian community inwhich currently resides in a rented old and insufficient Israel.Delegation from Trade & Investment, British Embassy, Visits Galilee SocietyA delegation from the British Embassy’s Trade & Advisor Yigal Levine.Investment Department visited the Galilee Societylast month to exchange ideas to increase collaboration The Trade & Investment Department previouslywith Arab and British businesses. supported the participation of three Galilee Society staff in trade and investment conferences in GreatThe delegation included Trade & Investment Britain.Director Richard Salt and Senior Trade & Investment Page 9
  10. 10. The Galilee Society Publishes its 2006 Annual ReportThe Galilee Society proudly distributed its 2006annual report this month, summarizing 12 monthsof striving to achieve equitable health, environmentaland socio-economic conditions for Palestinian Arabsin Israel.The opening letter from the Chair of the Board ofDirectors Wael Omari and General Director Dr.BaselGhattas pointed out the pioneering and influentialrole the Galilee Society has taken, especially in thelast year. In addition, they highlighted the role ofthe Galilee Society in supporting Arab communitiesmostly in Northern Israel affected by last summer’s Page from the 2006 Annual Reportwar but whose needs were largely ignored by thegovernment. They also took the opportunity to An electronic version of the 2006 annual report willthank all those that support the Galilee Society, be available on the Galilee Society website shortlywhether they be donors, volunteers, or staff. ( Health Rights Center Welcomes Two New Project CoordinatorsThe Galilee Society welcomes two new staff members Masters in Public Health from the Hebrewto its Health Rights Center. University in Jerusalem, is the new coordinator for the Health Rights Center’s Breast Cancer< Abeer Ghantoos, whose background is in social awareness project. work and is a specialist in sex education, has taken the role of coordinator for the Health The Galilee Society is excited to welcome such Rights Center’s HIV/AIDS awareness project. talented public health leaders to the organization.< Amira Othman, a registered nurse who has a Page 10
  11. 11. How to Support the Galilee SocietyHelp achieve equitable health, environmental, and socio-economic conditions and development opportuni-ties for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel by supporting the Galilee Society.How to Donate to the Galilee SocietyTax-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 theFriends of the Galilee Society and send them to: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 the Galilee Societyat: Page 11
  12. 12. P.O. Box 330Shefa-Amr, 20200IsraelAlternatively, bank transfers (in any currency) can be made directly to the Galilee Society’s bank 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 utility commu-nity-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 SocietyP.O. Box 330, Shefa-Amr 20200, IsraelTel.: +972 4 986 1171Fax: +972 4 986 1173Email: Page 12