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

    Sarah Halimi’s murder and the moral challenges of Forensic Psychiatry

    [Repost from the Times of Israel] Yesterday, on the 25th of April 2021, approximately 25.000 people gathered in Paris to demonstrate against the Supreme Court of Cassation’s decision to declare the killer of Sarah Halimi z”l as not criminally responsible for the gruesome and tragic murder, that took place just over four years ago. Not only in Paris, but also in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, London and other cities around the world, Jews and others gathered to demand justice for Halimi. Dr. Sarah Attal-Halimi z”l was a beloved Orthodox-Jewish mother and grandmother, who dedicated her life to caring for others as a family physician. On the night of the 4th of…

  • 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.…

  • 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…

  • Judaism,  Opinion,  Times of Israel

    Together as One Nation: Am Yisrael Chai

    [Repost from the Times of Israel] A response to ‘Israeli society needs to disengage from ultra-Orthodox’ by Dr. Ram Fruman, head of the Secular Forum, as published on Ynetnews.  בס”ד        There are often headlines in the news, especially of opinion pieces, that right away grab the attention. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes.. a bit less positive. The above mentioned article, published yesterday on Israeli new platform Ynetnews, is an example of one that grabbed my attention right away: just one day after having binge watched the Israeli TV-series ”Autonomies” (אוטונומיות), by Yehonatan Indursky, maker of the more well-known ”Shtisel”.        ”Autonomies” shows a complete dystopian…

  • 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…