• Environment,  Israel,  Opinion,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    One month after the oil spill, Israelis remain uninformed about health risks

    [Repost from the Times of Israel] Today, March 17th 2021, marks exactly one month after a large oil spill reached the shores of Israel. Over a few days, about 170km of Israel’s Mediterranean coastal line slowly blackened up with thick tar. During the first weekend after the disaster, as well as the following weeks, many Israelis showed their most involved and caring side, when they decided to spend precious free hours digging through the beach sand, filling up garbage bag after garbage bag with the black tar. This all while being highly encouraged by local municipalities, by the Nature Park authorities, as well as by family, friends, and community members.…

  • Environment,  Israel,  Opinion,  Other,  Public Health,  The Jerusalem Post

    Lack of transparency about oil spill endangers public health – opinion

    [Repost from the Jerusalem Post]  In recent days, both the Israeli and international media showed horrifying images of dead and blackened sea turtles, birds, and fish washed up on the Israeli seashores. Cause: a large oil spill, most likely due to a leaking ship, which now is damaging approximately 170 km. (40%) of Israel’s coast. Although the first oil was already found on a few beaches on February 17, the event was only briefly mentioned a day later in relation to a dead whale calf, which washed up on the shores just south of Tel Aviv. A more accurate extent of the disaster became clear during the weekend, after thousands of…

  • COVID-19,  Israel,  Opinion,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    After the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need time to grief and heal

    [Repost from the Times of Israel] February 2021, almost a full year after Israel confirmed its first coronavirus patient. Slowly but surely the world seems to brighten up a bit again: the virus mechanism is better understood, many knowledge gaps in our understanding of the pathophysiology (and treatment) of the coronavirus disease have been investigated, and worldwide vaccine programs have started up. Especially with the latter, a small spark of hope has been provided that there will be an end to the pandemic. And not just that, but the end might actually be near. We all long for this end, and for our lives to return to normal: to how…

  • Mental Health,  Opinion,  Psychiatry,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    The normalisation and celebration of online gambling (apps)

    [Repost from the Times of Israel]        Recently, Israeli high-tech company Playtika made major headlines with their business success. Started in 2010 from Tel Aviv, Playtika is considered one of the tech stars of our Start-Up Nation.        Going public on Wall Street with a 17.11% growth on the first day of trading last Friday the 15th of January and with a market cap currently estimated at $13.052 billion, Playtika is now the 6th most valuable Israeli company trading on Wall Street. [Source]. Something that is highly celebrated in the media, portraying Playtika as a role model and ultimate business model for ”high-tech companies” to strive…

  • Mental Health,  Opinion,  Psychiatry,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    The psychiatric stigma and ‘diagnosing’ our society

    [Repost from the Times of Israel] ”The problem we Israelis suffer from is a form of bipolar disorder – we are either extremely euphoric or experience so much anxiety we assume a fetal position waiting for it to pass, and that is not healthy for the soul.”        Those are the words that ex-director-general of the Health Ministry Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov used in a recent opinion piece — its topic further unrelated. Something that unfortunately appears to be common in our current day language: the use of diseases as a way of expression. Amongst these also psychiatric disorders: not only used to relate to the mental status of an individual, but…

  • Israel,  Opinion,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    The price of a life: More or less than the costs of traffic safety measures?

    [Repost from the Times of Israel]        Friday the 25th of December 2020. For some just a regular Shabbat evening, for others an evening with Christmas celebrations, or just an evening like any other. However, for the families of three young Israelis this was a night that changed their lives. During early nighttime hours, at the infamous Highway 4 (Kvish Arba), two cars made a full-frontal crash. Killing one of the drivers on the spot and leaving the other driver as well as its passenger critically injured.        In typical Israeli or maybe just current-day fashion, photos and comments about this tragic accident circulated freely on social…

  • COVID-19,  Opinion,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    No more anti-vaxxers: Now is the time for adequate health education

    [Repost from the Times of Israel]        It’s early November, almost 11 months into the global COVID-19 pandemic and it appears we’re nowhere near the end of it. While some countries have opted for complete lockdown (Israel included) and others tried to ride out the first wave of infection, it appears that we’re all ending up at the same finish line: increasing numbers of infected and diseased individuals, as well as economic disaster and widespread unemployment.        Often mentioned as way out of the pandemic is ”herd immunity”: achieved when a majority of the population is immune to a virus, either through its natural cause of…

  • COVID-19,  Opinion,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    How did we stop caring about COVID?

    [Repost from the Times of Israel]        On March 20, Israel recorded it’s first COVID-19 death: the 88-year old Holocaust survivor Aryeh Even Z”L. Only two days later, on March 24th, a second death is reported: the 67-year old beloved grandmother Malka Keva Z”L. From there on numbers go quickly: an 87-year old man, a 91-year old woman, an 83-year old man, an 89-year old woman. All dearly beloved individuals, greatly missed by those who are left behind, who often weren’t even able to say goodbye due to the isolation measures around those with confirmed coronavirus infections.        The Israeli media followed the developments of the…

  • COVID-19,  Opinion,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    Nurses on strike: Foreboding of a healthcare disaster?

    [Repost from the Times of Israel]        On Monday July 20, 2020, Israeli nurses went on a nationwide strike, trying to draw the governments’ and publics’ attention to the increasing workload experienced in the hospital systems throughout the country. With a staggering increase in COVID-19 patients over the last couple weeks – mainly due to failing government directives as well as ill-considered behaviour from many individuals in the society -, the physical burden as well as mental weight of working within the healthcare system are expected to keep on rising, possibly reaching a breaking point in the near future.        Although an agreement between the Ministry…

  • COVID-19,  Opinion,  Public Health,  Times of Israel

    Don’t lose track of what pandemic control is really about: Our health

    [Repost from the Times of Israel]        Israel is angry. For the 4th week in a row, there have been major demonstrations throughout the country. We’ve seen Black Flag movements across some 200 road junctions, and infuriated crowds raging their concerns in the streets against a failing, out of touch, and seemingly corrupt government. Climaxing on the 12th and 18th of July with hundreds of people at the Presidents’ residence in Jerusalem and thousands protesting in Tel Aviv. It clearly isn’t over yet.        It’s the Summer of 2020. The world is battling a global pandemic, and unfortunately Israel is no exception. When the first cases of the…