Approximately 500 participants, almost 110 lecturers and presenters, 100 youth, current and past government Ministers, Knesset Members, Executive Directors, mayors, judges, policy makers and professionals from the areas of law, medicine, social work, criminology, education, nursing and other fields, participated in the National Council for the Child’s Beersheba Conference on Children’s Wellbeing in Israel held on the Ben Gurion University campus in the Negev for two full days – February 16-17.
The conference, held for the eighth consecutive year, included 17 different panels on important and current issues such as:
- Inequality for children in the health system
- Holes in the Social Security Network regarding children
- Distress that doesn’t disappear in the move from childhood to adulthood
- Children’s exposure to pain during medical treatments
- Is it possible and is it necessary to protect children from exposure to current events in the media?
- Exploitation and “slave labor” of children
- Involvement of parents in education – Resource or Nuisance?
The Guest of Honor at the opening ceremony was Mr. Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel, and Mr. Micha Lindenstrauss, State Comptroller, presented the opening speech. Lindenstrauss spoke of the socioeconomic gaps in Israel society and the implications for children, remarking that we have lost our “social solidarity” and that it is unclear what hope we have left. (At right a photo of Comptroller Mr. Micha Lindenstrauss, Prof. Rivka Carmi - Pres. Ben Gurion Univ., Israel President Mr. Shimon Peres)
In President Peres’ opening remarks, he stated, [translated from Hebrew] “The Beersheba Conference on Children’s Wellbeing deals with the subject that is dearest, most important and closest to our hearts. It brings together official and professional sectors for a workshop of thorough and insightful discussions that deal with the welfare, protection, education, nurturing and physical and mental health of children, and the protection of their rights. The National Council for the Child, since its establishment in its current framework 23 years ago, has created a framework for organized activity on behalf of children at risk and in distress, raising public awareness and acting as a vigorous lobby for the promotion of broad legislation to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of children without discrimination. This is a social and humane mission for which there is no comparison, and all partners in this great effort should be congratulated and appreciated.”
(Left, photo of Peres and Kadman)
In the closing session, representatives of three religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) presented their religion’s views on different issues regarding children and childhood.
This year, as in previous conferences, a large group of youth participated in the preparation and presentation of the conference and its different panel discussions, and took an active part in the conference audience.