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On the agenda
June 11, 2015:
The NCC warns: The confidential identity and details of hundreds of children hospitalized for psychiatric treatment each year will now be exposed as the Mental Health Reform goes into action (July 1, 2015). In the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee hearing held on June 10th which discussed the issue of the new mental health reform, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, NCC's Executive Director, warned that the identity and details of hundreds of minors who are not mentally ill but who are hospitalized annually due for mental disorders, may be exposed in wake of the new reform. Until now, by virtue of the Youth Law, it has been forbidden to reveal the identity of minors in official documents or to include them in the Health Care System's patient database, but now under the Ministry of Health's strange interpretation, it will be possible to transfer information to administrators and Family Physicians of the HMOs (and from there to other factors such as the IDF, etc.(
Dr. Kadman called on the Knesset to intervene and to prevent the exposure of minors as is established in the Youth Law. The exposure of identifying information would cause harm to the minors and may also cause them and their parents to avoid getting treatment for fear of exposure. The NCC announced that it will not hesitate to appeal to the Supreme Court if the Ministry of Health does not recant its position.

May 2015: The NCC's Ombudsman for Children and Youth received a complaint about a TV program that showed a father throwing knives at his 16-year-old son, showing off his skills by not hurting him. The NCC contacted the Ombudsman for Television and Radio questioning the legality of this father's "hobby" and the broadcast of this offensive content that shows the endangerment of children and which could also give ideas to kids and adults. The television franchise responsible for the show has apologized for the content broadcasted and announced that they will not transmit extreme events of this kind in the future.
May 7, 2015: Children from the Palestinian Authority begging at intersections in Israel:  A badly bruised young boy (about 6 years old) was brought to the hospital by a caring police officer who most likely found the child at an intersection in northern Israel. The boy is a resident of the West-Bank. It seems that he was beaten by his ‘employer’ who is a 17-year old Israeli from a Bedouin town.   
This event once again emphasizes the shameful and dreadful industry which has children begging at intersections, especially in the ‘triangle’ areas and the North. This phenomenon, which puts children’s lives and health in immediate danger, is one the NCC has been fighting for years now. We still have not managed to make any authority take responsibility for this difficult and complex issue. The fact that the children are non-Israeli and mostly PA-residents should not and does not affect their basic right for life and for a normal development. The children’s origins and the lack of cooperation with their parents and the PA make the work much harder, but since the events occur on Israeli territory it is our legal and moral obligation to act.
 It is unacceptable to behave as if we do not see child exploitation right under our noses and handle the problem as if it was occurring in a third-world country, ignoring it and failing to act. We know very well that the police, who are called over and over again by concerned citizens, is frustrated by its inability to act. But frustration is not a plan of action.
The NCC called on the Israel Police Commissioner to bring up this matter for discussion in the Police Department, including Directors of the Ministry of Justice and Social Affairs and representatives of the IDF and the West-Bank Civil Administration, in an effort to eradicate or at least reduce this phenomenon through (badly needed) cooperation.

May 7, 2015 -Abused and neglected, child victims fall through the cracks

April 27, 2015 - The NCC contacted Directors of the Ministries of Health, Welfare and Justice in a joint letter since the complicated issue of sexual abuse of children by persons not responsible for their actions and/or not eligible to stand trial is one relevant to all three Ministries and since solutions can only be found, in our opinion, through cooperation between the offices.
Recently a parent contacted the NCC after his daughter was sexually harassed by a local resident who is mentally challenged. A complaint was made to the police but, in light of the man's situation and that he cannot be punished through criminal proceedings, the police referred the complainants to Social Services (Ministry of Welfare). Social Services tried as best as they could to find a solution by trying to find an arrangement in which the individual would be put in an hostel or another institution but this didn’t happen because, as far as we know, the individual’s family resisted any agreement that involved him leaving home. Meanwhile the suspicion that he hurt other girls has been confirmed.
We understand the judicial problem, but we also more than understand the frustration and fear of the parents alongside the terror of the children who are exposed to this real threat without protection.
This is not a single case. This issue requires creative thinking and inter-ministerial cooperation in order to find a solution for this dangerous problem.
The NCC is not implying in any way that people who are mentally impaired are dangerous or have a penchant for sexual violence. A stigma like that is dangerous, not appropriate and not true.  Nevertheless, as is the case among ‘normal’ people, mentally impaired individuals may also commit sexual abuse and it is imperative to find a way to protect children from these actions since the customary criminal proceedings are not an option.

Unfortunately the NCC website was hacked and some of our website has been altered.  We apologize for the missing information between September 2014  - April, 2015

Sept. 8, 2014 - The school year that opened this week brings with it an important message especially for marginal students. As of this year, education in Israel is now compulsory through twelfth grade for all students across the country. This means that dropping out is not an option. The National Council for the Child initiated the law along with former MK Rabbi Michael Melchior. NCC's Director, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman: "In the past children got the message that they do not have to learn after the tenth grade. With the implementation of the law throughout the country, the message changes completely."

 September 2 - During the summer months there is an increase in the number of children killed in Israel, most of which could have been avoided easily with a little more awareness, observation and attention. This summer 22 children and adolescents were killed in Israel. This represents an increase in children's deaths compared to last year (18) and the previous year (14). Drowning particularly stood out this year as the number one cause of death after nine children drowned this summer. Fortunately no children were killed this summer as a result of leaving them alone in a vehicle. (Although one unfortunate incident happened before the summer vacation in May 2014.) The National Council for the Child calls on parents and state agencies together to invest more in preventing accidents especially during this accident-prone period.

August 12, 2014 - The National Council for the Child speaks out regarding the safety of incarcerated minors following an incident in which five boys humiliated, kicked and cut with a razor blade a 17-year old inmate after covering the cell cameras. Unfortunately this is not the first case. The NCC is concerned that there is no serious examination of these cases in jail and the incidents are not taken seriously. http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4558001,00.html

August 12, 2014 - With the difficult events in Israel at this time the small problems pale in comparison but soon (1.9) hundreds of thousands of young children (ages 0-3) will begin the school year again in early childhood frameworks without minimum standards, without a license, without supervision, without enforcement, without the protection of vulnerable children. More than a decade has passed and the Knesset has not been able to pass the law that regulates the operations of these facilities leaving everything wide open and dangerous.

February 18, 2014 - Children in commercials... Who does it serve? The National Council for the Child has asked MK Orly Levy, chairman of the Knesset Children's Rights Committee, to change the law and ban the use of children under 15 in advertisements. "Children under age 15 are not permitted to work in other jobs, there is no reason to allow them to work in the world of advertising. The vast majority of children do not advertise children's products, but rather other products. Why do children need to promote cars, air conditioners and contractor companies?

February 13, 2014 - "Dear National Council for the Child! My name is Yonatan. Your Mobile Unit came to our school. You explained to us what you do and also about rights and responsibilities. And I thought that I need to make a donation to help children with that. Let's say that a child doesn't have a bed. For children who don't have enough rights. I don't know if you need help for other things to help children. The money that I am giving you is my money... In English class the teacher announced about the reading for each month and that there will be prizes for that. When I came home from school I showed the sheet to my grandfather and he told me right away that he will give us money for every page for yourself and also for a donation or tsedakah and at the end of the month I had read 2104 pages! So that is the money for the donation and I am giving it to you." How often do you come across a little boy who understands that others may need help and he can make a difference... Thank you Yonatan for being so sweet and caring, and keep up the reading!!

 

February 12, 2014 -The 13th Beersheva Conference on Children's Wellbeing in Israel took place Monday and Tuesday, including youth, government ministers, judges and criminologists, as well as education, medical and social services professionals. Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, executive director of the Israel National Council for the Child, addressed the opening plenum: “Today we know how little we really know on the extent of the phenomenon of child abuse in Israel. This is a challenge to all services for children in medicine, education, welfare and the justice system who must improve their access to children in order to allow them to tell their story. As long as the children are silent, there is no way to help them and stop the attacks on them. In addition, we must listen to children seriously and especially believe in them, believe them and give them the real feeling that we will come to their aid,” Kadman said. Among the subjects tackled at the conference were why children are silent victims, child poverty in the 21st century, child victims of indirect violence, surrogacy in the eyes of Jewish tradition, alcohol use among youth, and youth sex offenders. http://www.jpost.com/National-News/BGU-Conference-on-welfare-of-the-child-tackles-pressing-issues-about-child-abuse-and-poverty-341118

 

February 11, 2014 -News reported on Israel's Channel 2 News from the Beersheva Conference on Children's Wellbeing in Israel 2014 - Minister of Social Affairs presents a difficult image: 700 students in the TA area alone engage in prostitution - 300 of them attend schools. Minister Cohen called on educators and parents not to suppress the phenomenon.

 

February 6, 2014 - Happy to report that it works... The NCC received numerous reports about an offensive Facebook page that included photos of children with pornographic messages. The NCC reported the page to Facebook and urged those who turned to us to also report the page. Although the first response we received reported that they were not going to remove the page, within 24 hours they had reconsidered and the page and the individual photos were removed. It works. If you see offensive material, report it!

 

January 30- The National Council for the Child appealed to the Minister of Health to intervene immediately to prevent the Health Ministry's announced budget cuts on the Project Renewal Program, a cut that will affect various health programs including, and mainly, important public health prevention programs for toddlers, children and youth. How can it be that while we are being informed that planned budget cuts are being repealed, the massive sword of budget cuts is being raised so brutally against allocations that protect the health of the weakest? Why is that the necessary budget can't be found for the youth health center, for preparing children in need for first grade, for developmental services for children at risk, for home accident prevention? How can it be that there is no money, no budget and no way to support and preserve the status quo? Most accidents can be easily prevented. http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Nearly-160-percent-increase-in-child-poisonings-over-past-20-years-report-finds-339255

 

January 22, 2014 - The NCC sends their condolences to the family of the little sisters who died today from accidental poisoning and wishes for a full recovery to the other siblings who are still hospitalized. Parents (and others responsible for children), be ALERT AND CAUTIOUS for that is the surest way TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS! Most accidents in the home and yard can be prevented fairly easily with a little more awareness, attention, caution and responsibility. (Without judgment regarding today's disaster, for which the details are still being investigated.) According to the NCC's recently released 2013 yearbook, The State of the Child in Israel, in 2012 over 18,000 children were injured as a result of poisoning, compared with just over 7,000 children two decades ago (1993). This is a dramatic and continual increase with most of the victims being children under the age of five years old. The NCC called on the Ministry of Health to broaden and increase the information provided to parents on the subject and again called on parents to be alert and cautious.

 

January 9, 2014 -Most high school students do not get psychological assistance. The Ministry of Education's Psychological Services department is responsible for assisting children aged 3 to 18 but due to the lack of manpower, the service is only provided up to age 15. NCC Director, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman: "There are places in Israel with one psychologist for every 3,000 children. It's like saying that the service exists on paper but not in practice. We are lacking the manpower that provides the shell to help cope with hardships and adversity. " http://www.israelhayom.co.il/article/146989

 

January 7, 2014 - The National Council for the Child's Ombudsman for Children and Youth received many complaints about an advertisement containing harmful messages that might encourage suicide. The NCC contacted the Ombudsman for the Second Authority for Television and Radio. They took quick and decisive action, as usual, and the advertisement was changed.

 

December 31, 2013 - According to Israel's compulsory education law, students must attend school until 12th grade but many students still drop out and in many cases end up on the street. The problem is often hidden as the children are still enrolled in school but don't actually attend. http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=1027779

 

December 29, 2013 - 70% of the files opened following sexual abuse to children are closed despite that the police believe the children... NCC stats reveal that of the 1938 files opened following child sexual abuse, only 162 were brought to court. Outrageous.

 

December 26, 2013 - NCC advocacy for child victims brought about legislation enabling victims to receive partial restitution directly from the State immediately after sentencing. Some 700 children who have fallen prey to sexual abuse have received initial compensation from the state to the tune of 10,000 shekels ($2,865), the Knesset's Committee on the Rights of the Child stated Monday. Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, executive director of the National Council for the Child, urged the committee to increase the restitution to NIS 20,000 ($5,727) and extend the compensation offered by the state to include minors who suffered other forms of abuse. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=14241

 

December 25, 2013 - “What we see all the time is a rise in the number of sexual assaults committed [against children] and a decrease in the age of those committing the crimes,” said Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, Executive Director of the National Council for the Child. “We have a much deeper societal problem than just putting these children in prison. The educational aspect is the most important, we don’t want to just punish we want to prevent.” In 2012 there were 282 reported cases of suspected sexual assault in children under the age of 14 in Israel– a figure that has nearly doubled over the past decade. http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Alleged-gang-rape-of-12-year-old-a-wake-up-call-for-Israeli-society-335910

 

December 22, 2013 - Do educators who are found to be sexual predators have special immunity? No less than four educators who were convicted last year for sexually assaulting students received incomprehensible forgiving treatment and punishment that did not include even one day in prison. The National Council for the Child criticized the incomprehensible and inconceivable position of the courts to those predators who exploited their position as educators to sexually harm pupils. An educator who uses his position to sexually abuse should receive a much more serious punishment than other predators, not the opposite. http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Rabbi-Moti-Elon-wont-serve-prison-time-for-sexual-crime-against-minor-court-rules-335352

 

December 8, 2013 - Thanks arrived from the father of three-year old Bedouin girl, Kalilah (name changed), who suffers from a rare disease that requires constant supervision. Kalilah was integrated in a special nursery school last year with government funding because of her special medical needs. Unfortunately this year her assistant's hours were cut significantly to only thirty hours a month, forcing her to stay home. "After I spoke to you [The NCC Ombudsman for Children and Youth], Batia [an Ombudsman volunteer] began to intervene on this matter, dealing with all the parties, in a consistent and thorough manner. Today we were notified that the hours of assistance have been doubled to 60 hours a month. While still not enough, the situation at least enables Kalilah to attend the nursery at least two and a half hours every day. According to the opinion of all those treating her, her visits to the nursery contribute to her development on all levels. My wife and I would like to send a huge bouquet of thanks to Batia for the enormous efforts she invested and to you as an organization for having taken on the mission to help helpless children. Many thanks for your blessed work."

 

December 6, 2013- Approximately 10,000 children have been removed from their homes in Israel for one reason or another. A new law initiated by the National Council for the Child and drafted together with MK Karin Elharar will now regulate all areas of foster care that have previously been left to policy and not anchored in law. “For those who live in the system, growing up or raising a child, this is a huge change that ensures their rights and facilitates their daily functioning with all parties concerned.” This law will “directly and significantly affect the lives of thousands of children and families in Israel.” http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Knesset-passes-bill-regulating-foster-care-system-in-Israel-334118

 

December 5, 2013 - A 12-year-old boy in southern Israel succeeded in taking his own life this week. Thousands of other youth have tried but fortunately the attempt failed. Internet bullying has been blamed for increasing the risk of suicide attempts but it is just one of the many issues; just one of the "straws that can break the camel's back".... Thousands of children and youth are in severe distress. Professionals, family and friends must not be afraid to respond to signs of distress. http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Child-rights-advocate-The-Internet-bullying-has-greatly-increased-risk-of-child-suicide-333989

 

December 1, 2013 - Today the Ministerial Legislation Committee approved the bill initiated by the National Council for the Child that will regulate the status, rights and responsibilities of foster families in Israel for the first time. This historic decision will benefit the 2,369 Israeli children living in foster families. According to the current situation, the rights and responsibilities of foster families are unclear, including the relationship with the biological family. Even the financial arrangements designed to ensure coverage of expenses and needs of the foster child in a foster home are not covered by law today. Due to this lack of regulation, many problems arise and have come to the attention of the National Council for the Child through the NCC's Ombudsman for Children and Youth. The NCC's Ombudsman offers a "Friend Away From Home" – a professional advocate available for children in out-of-home placement, someone whose only agenda is to look out for their best interest.

 

November 12, 2013 - It's nothing less than an earthquake... The results of a new, comprehensive study on the rate of child abuse in Israel released today by the NCC reveal that almost 1 in ever 2 children in Israel have experienced at least one or more acts of violence. The study is the product of collaboration between the University of Haifa, the Traiana Center for the Study of Society and the Education Ministry, among others including the National Council for the Child. The study was conducted over the past school year among a representative national sample of 10,513 children – Jewish and Arab – aged 12,14, and 16. The results were revealed in the Knesset today before the Children's Rights Committee, broadcast live on television. The implications of these shocking results demand immediate action. http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Child-abuse-more-prevalent-than-ever-report-shows-331434

 

November 5, 2013 - The NCC was happy to hear the recent reports about the improvement in the academic achievements of students in Israel however the reported data also indicates two disturbing phenomena that should not be ignored. One is the increase in the gaps in achievement between different socioeconomic groups in the population. The education system should be the leader towards reducing social disparities, but it fails to do so. The ever increasing parental fees and last year's cuts in child allowances only further increase economic and educational disparities in general, and in particular those gaps within the schools. The second phenomenon concerns the alarming school atmosphere. Too many students do not like school, they are not experiencing a caring relationship and closeness from their teachers and they feel that their teachers don't believe in their capabilities. These reports increase with age.

 

- 30% of the students in 7th through 12th grade do not have positive feelings about school - 60% of students in the 11th and 12th grades and approximately 50% of students in 7th through 9th grades do not feel a close and caring relationship with the teachers - About half of the students in 7th through 12th grade do not get feedback from their teachers - Almost a quarter of all students in 7th through 9th grade feel that their teachers do not believe in them

 

No less important is the physical condition of the schools with implications regarding the children's health, accidents, violence and their general ability to learn. Approximately 40% of 5th and 6th graders and 53% of 7-9th graders are not happy with the physical environment of their school. Two-thirds of the elementary school students and 77% of junior high students complained about dirty and unacceptable bathrooms. The NCC has called for a comprehensive national campaign to upgrade and improve the school bathrooms and the unhealthy conditions for our students. Congratulations students and teachers on your improvement in academic achievement but we cannot stop worrying… The NCC continues to fight to improve the situation all around, for all the children.

 

November 4, 2013 Parents suspected of shaking their two-month old twin babies causing physical injury to their bodies and cracks in their skulls. Never, NEVER shake a baby! http://www.ynet.co.il/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-4449078,00.html

 

October 22, 2013 The National Council for the Child provided assistance to a 16-year old boy (the son of divorced parents) forced to study in a yeshiva high school against his will. Feeling that the studies and hours in the yeshiva did not suit him, he asked his mother to transfer him to a technical high school. Unfortunately the boy's father didn't agree and took them to court. The court decision: back to the yeshiva. The boy called the NCC to ask for help. The NCC set him up with a lawyer through the public aide department of the Ministry of Justice, a service with which the NCC works in close contact. An appeal was made and the previous decision was overturned. The decision: The boy gets to study at the technical school. The moral of the story: Children have the right to voice their opinion and to have a say in decisions affecting their lives and their fate. In the appeal decision the court questioned why the boy was never asked what he preferred and why. They didn't even meet the boy. Furthermore, an objective report by a social worker suggesting that the move was in the boy's best interest had been ignored. We are thrilled at the court's decision and the recognition of the regional court that children must be seen AND HEARD. You can hear an interview at the following link on the 37 minute mark. http://tlv1.fm/episodes/2013/10/16/between-geneva-and-munich-yeshiva-refusenik-and-venture-capital-trouble-so-much-to-say/

 

October 20, 2013 Unlike other Western countries, the definition of rape in Israeli law is narrow, specifying an act perpetrated by males on females. New legislation may help change that perception, which some claim ignores the plight of male victims of sexual assault. The Israel National Council for the Child is now preparing to submit a petition requesting that the Knesset and Justice Ministry put a 2010 bill back on the agenda to change the gender-limited language in existing rape-related laws. http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/.premium-1.553212#

September- October 2013:
Oct. 30: The National Council for the Child welcomes the approval of the new law regulating the legal age of marriage to 18. The NCC is one of the initiators and promoters of this law.
The NCC pushes legislation to change the definition of rape to include male victims Read about it in the press
A 16-year old's victory in court allows him to study where he wants to study after the court appeal (following NCC assistance) declares that the boys opinion must be listened to and taken into consideration in decisions of this sort.  Listen here to a radio interview at the 37 minute mark
A kindergarten teacher is threatened and her kindergarten torched for reporting her suspicion that one of the children in her class is being abused.  The NCC  on the government to treat the issue seriously and to protect those dedicated educators who are doing their best to protect the children in their care.
Many cases involving children murdered by a family member, such as that which occurred this month when a single mother allegedly murdered her seven-and five-year-old children in their Jerusalem apartment, could have been avoided had the public system been better prepared.  Read about it in the Jerusalem Post
 
July - August  2013:
July 21- The National Council for the Child criticized the decision to move forward with the decision to cuts child allowances for young children and only to cancel the decision regarding children age 10 and older. 
 Five children die after having been left alone in a car over the last two months.  Others were saved miraculously by the awarness of passersby.  The NCC calls on parents to be more alert and calls on authorities to charge parents who intentionally leave their children in the car unattended even if it was meant "just for a minute"


January - February 2013:
 
Feb. 4, 2013:
For years the government has promised to establish a boarding school for youth released from psychiatric hospitals, but in its absence dozens of children are forced to continue to live in the hospital unnecessarily. About thirty children each year should be released but remain hospitalized.
The National Council for the Child protests this scandal. We would expect to see cooperation between the Ministries of Health and Welfare on this critical issue but in practice there is none, and again it is the children who are suffering. A psychiatric hospital is not a place for children to live.
 
Feb 2, 2013: A talk about sexual abuse and sexual harassment in school led to the exposure of the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old girl. The girl had been sexually abused a few days earlier by a family friend who stayed overnight at her house. She had been afraid to tell anyone about it because the attacker threatened her if she tells and because she feared that she would be blamed or not believed.

As it happened, a week after the abuse, the girl’s school held a sexual abuse awareness week. Her teacher (who later testified in court) talked to her students about sexual abuse and that it should be reported immediately, emphasizing that it is never the child's fault and the victim should not be afraid or ashamed to tell about it.

Following the lesson the girl sent a note to her teacher and wrote that she wanted to talk to her. In the conversation that took place after class, the girl told her teacher about the abuse the week before. Following this disclosure, a complaint was filed with the police. Police investigators found the testimony credible. A few days ago (28/01/13) Be'er Sheva District Court convicted the defendant.

The National Council for the Child called for all schools to talk to their students about sexual abuse and to be attentive to student responses during and after such lessons.
The NCC's Child Victim Assistance Program is helping the girl through the legal process
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