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Violence against women, Prof Ruth Halperin – Kaddari, and the Dinah project

There has been some controversy about the issue of violence against women during the war which started on October 7th 2023.

For the Times supplement about this violence on Saturday 8th June 2024 Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, who gave an outstanding webinar on the subject to the JMA in March 2024, was quoted as the most highly respected Israeli expert on this.

You can access her JMA talk here.

In her talk Prof Halperin-Kaddari referred to the Dinah Project 7/10. More information about this project can be accessed here.

You can also see her specific response to the Times article:





Psychological Trauma post 7th October 2023

Following the recent IMA international webinar on 28th May , their next such event will take place on 18th July. Advance details are on the flyer. Further information will be announced shortly.

Israeli Medicine: A story of Inspiration

IMA arranged a webinar on this theme which took place on May 28th, 2024”.

The video recording of this session can be accessed here.

The Lancet published an article by Dehghan et al several months back. Some of the authors of that article have called previously for “decolonisation” as a solution to the current conflict.

Three responses to this have been published - eventually.

One of these is from several members of the JMA: ”Duty and advocacy for Palestine: Jewish doctors’ response” by Nadel et al – which can be accessed here.

The other two are from an American group: “Hypocrisy of moral imperatives in the Israel–Hamas war” by Roth et al – which can be accessed here; and from an international group: “When medical duty and advocacy are one-sided, both sides suffer” by Katz et al – which can be accessed here.

These three items remain very relevant to public debate.

The Lancet Commission Report on Medicine, Nazism and the Holocaust was published in November 2023, in the immediate aftermath of the Hamas massacre of 7th October 2023. In an article published in the Israeli Journal for Healthcare Policy Research two of the authors of that report (Reis and Wald) say that it has striking relevance to ongoing discussions about current events.

The authors regard the massacre as a crime against humanity including genocide. For Israel self-defence is a legitimate objective. The use of one’s own civilians as human shields, including in health facilities, and at the same time causing immense ongoing suffering in Israel, is unacceptable. They deplore that (with some exceptions) the medical literature has not condemned Hamas’ atrocities and has criticised the Israeli military. This has been followed by a surge of antisemitism, and the Report asserts that healthcare professionals have a special responsibility to combat this as well as other forms of discrimination. This requires issues of antisemitism and religious discrimination to be included within all EDI programmes, including those on campus; and with this an evidence-based approach to 7th October and its aftermath. The relevance of this must be seen by healthcare professional not only within medicine but also within global citizenship. International community accusations and anti-Israel libels need to be refuted.

The authors conclude by reviewing the report’s implications for contemporary medicine in general. They assert that four approaches are required: 1) provision of skills required to detect and prevent crimes against humanity and genocide; (2) care for victims of atrocities; (3) upholding the healing ethos central to the practice of medicine; and (4) fostering history-informed morally courageous health professionals who speak up when necessary.

The full article can be accessed here.

Soroka Hospital published an article on their experience on the frontline on October 7th 2023. This article can be accessed here.

Strous and Modovich (from Mayanei Hayeshua) published an article on the ethics of psychiatric management in time of disaster and war based upon October 7th. This article can be accessed here.

In early November 2023 there was extensive media coverage of the WHO Director – General’s call for cessation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza. The Lancet praised his comments for moral clarity, and a group of senior Israeli academics and physicians responded to this. Their letter can be accessed here.

The International Journal of Public Health has published a report that delves into the rapid medical response spearheaded by Israel’s civilian Emergency Medical Service, Magen David Adom (MDA), during the crisis of October 7th 2023. The authors are from the MDA itself and from Emergency Medicine and Public Health Departments at Ben Gurion University. The report can be accessed here.

Proportionality in war -  two eminent Israeli physicians comment

There has been much discussion about what is a proportionate response in war and an important contribution on this topic was made in the House of Lords by Lord Verdirame in October 2023.

This topic continues to be discussed. In a blog on 25th January two distinguished Israeli medical academics, Prof Shimon Glick and Prof Mark Clarfield have put forward their views how to approach it. Their blog can be accessed here.

There continue to be reflective medical articles about the early days of the war which have appeared in both general and medical media.

Dr Pesach Lichtenberg from Kiryat Shaul Hospital wrote in The Atlantic about how Jews and Arab doctors work together and communicate following October 7th and his article can be accessed here.

Prof Mark Clarfield reflected on the fate of older people, both on October 7th itself, and subsequently. These people suffer disproportionally during humanitarian crisis. His article can be accessed here.

Misinformation about the events of October 7th and about the role of Hamas in particular continues to appear. Dr Philip Robinson responded to a BMJ article and highlighted the importance of being clear that Hamas is indeed a designated terrorist organisation in the UK. His letter can be accessed here.

A Gazan physician, Dr Khamis Elessi, published a letter in the Lancet (28th October 2023): “Save the Gaza residents from imminent catastrophe” about the deteriorating situation in Gaza. There were several inaccuracies in this letter.

In a response to Dr Elessi “The conflict in Gaza: a view from Israel” (published on 1st November 2023), Shelley Sternberg and Edward Breuer say that they share his concerns, and that they pray for the protection of innocent lives on both sides of the border, but that these concerns must begin with recognising that a terrorist organisation currently governs Gaza. Sternberg and Breuer’s letter can be accessed here.

A reflective comment about the ethical issues that healthcare professionals are encountering during the current conflict was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on 8th November and can be accessed here.

One of the most disturbing features since 7th October 2023 has been the silence of many of the International Healthcare Organisations about violence to women and children. The Israeli medical community have united to call for condemnation of gender – based crimes, for safe return of victims, and for support of those who are victims of such trauma. The full statement can be accessed here.

The issue of gender – based violence (GBV) on 7th October was also taken up by the Lancet, saying that medical societies, journals, and governing bodies must take a clear moral stance by vocally condemning the GBV atrocities. Their article can be accessed here.

The Israeli Medical Association issued a formal statement to colleagues worldwide about the current war. This can be accessed here.

The situation is ongoing and on 13th October two letters on the topic were published by the Lancet.

Prof Mark Clarfield, who is a geriatrician, reflected on the report about a Holocaust survivor hostage.

1500 Israeli physicians signed a letter about the ongoing crisis about the Israeli hostages who are being held in Gaza

On 16th October Prof Mark Clarfield spoke to the Association in a webinar on “Update from Israel – One Doctor’s Perspective”. Watch the video recording here.

On 24th October Dr Ruth Waitzberg spoke to the Association in a webinar on “Challenges and responses of the Israeli healthcare system during the first four days of the attack from Hamas”. Watch the video recording here.