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Israeli Health Ministry Ignores Arabs in Nutrition Campaigns

NGO Claims
According to Health Ministry figures, children in Israel's Arab community consume more sweetened drinks than their Jewish counterparts. Child obesity is also more severe in the Arab community.

The Health Ministry’s campaigns over the past few years promoting nutrition have skipped over Arab citizens, according to the NGO Citizens for the Environment.
For example, the home page of the Health Ministry’s website has nutritional recommendations in Arabic for the recent Jewish holiday of Shavuot and during the Ramadan month of fasting. However, there is no information in Arabic about the damage that can be caused by sugar, salt or processed food.
Moreover, the ministry’s flagship nutritional campaign has not been translated into Arabic at all, nor does it contain content tailored to the Arab population.
In a letter to Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, the chairwoman of Citizens for the Environment chairwoman, attorney Jameela Hardel Wachim, wrote: “Exclusion of the Arab public from programs to promote healthy nutrition and from explanatory materials on that subject, especially for children, leaves this community behind as far as changes in nutrition and consumption, and consequently also leaves it sicker, and the figures already show.”
According to Health Ministry figures recently published in TheMarker, children in Israel’s Arab community consume more sweetened drinks than their Jewish counterparts — 51 percent of Arab children between the ages of 11 and 15 drink at least one sweetened beverage a day, compared to 45 percent of Jewish boys and 41 percent of Jewish girls in that age group.
Child obesity is also more severe in the Arab community. According to the figures, nearly 40 percent of Arab seventh-graders are overweight, compared to 30 percent of seventh graders in the Jewish population.
None of the Health Ministry films promoting healthy eating have been translated into Arabic.
“As the mother of two daughters I deal with the problem personally, and the lack of explanatory information in the language my daughters can understand makes things very difficult,” Hardel Wachim said. “My girls, ages 3 and 9, like most of the Arab children, are not exposed at all to the films the Health Ministry has produced in recent years, especially about the damage of salt, sugar and processed foods,” she added.
Because the information is not found in Arabic in schools or the media, children could greatly benefit from these Health Ministry films is they were translated, because they are very influenced by what they see on YouTube and social media, Hardel Wachim said.
“We don’t have another Health Ministry, and it is the ministry’s obligation to provide its services equally to the entire population,” she said.
The lack of information available in Arabic on health issues is apparently symptomatic of a broader malaise.
A search of the Israel Government Advertising Agency shows that from among all the advertising campaigns the agency implements for various government ministries, none are in Arabic. In the category of health and the environment, for example, there are 15 campaigns, all in Hebrew only.
In 2015, investment in Arabic media was 3.5 percent, up from 4.2 percent in 2014. The Health Ministry does not have a spokesman in Arabic or a liaison to work with Arab-language media.
The Health Ministry responded that it does have campaigns in Arabic, including its flagship nutrition campaign, with a number of Arab communities participating in a pilot project of that campaign. According to the ministry, since January 2016, out of 99 ads placed in newspapers, 23 ads on healthy eating were placed in Arabic-language weekend newspapers. The ministry said its information on sugared drinks was translated into Arabic and published on YouTube but the clip has not yet been posted on the ministry’s website. The ministry has recently approved two positions for Arabic speakers on the subject of public health.
However, according to experts on media in the Arab community, the ads in three weekend Arabic-language newspapers do not convey the message in an age of electronic and social media, and so such an investment is minimal and lacking impact.Schermata 2016 06 14 alle 09.47.12

Jack Khoury
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.724832Schermata 2016 06 14 alle 09.46.04

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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