Health Ministry disassociates from conference
Ministry, Maccabi Health demand organizers of alternative medicine conference remove their names as "partners."
The Health Ministry in Jerusalem Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski
The Health Ministry, hospitals, Maccabi Health Services and other organizations
and institutions have demanded that the organizers of a Jerusalem conference on
“Integrative Medicine After the Age of 40” next month remove their names as
“partners” and those of staffers as “members of the scientific
The conference, which took place first in Haifa in 2009 and
then in Jerusalem’s International Convention Center in 2010, is due to meet at
the convention center in the middle of May.
Avraham Fried, its past and
present organizer with Dan Knassim/Paragon, admitted to The Jerusalem Post on
Tuesday that the conference website used the same “stationery” as the 2010
conference and thus had not removed the names of people and institutions that
had resigned or said they had never been involved in the conference at
In addition, Fried conceded that he was wrong to use the term
“partner” to describe institutions that had at least one staffer attending the
conference (and got a discount in fees), because it implied that the institution
had backed him, endorsed the conference or been a financial sponsor.
website listed Yair Amikam, the Health Ministry’s deputy director-general for
information and international relations, as a member of the scientific
committee, and the ministry as a sponsor. However, Amikam said in response that
the ministry “is not a partner to the conference in any way, not in financing,
not in content or in any other way.”
He added that “over the last 15
years, [I] have never served as a member of a scientific committee of any
conference, as, to the disappointment of my mother, [I] am not a doctor and not
Yet Fried insisted that Amikam had been a member of the
scientific committee in 2010, but had the false impression that he had been a
member of the “organizing committee,” which did not exist. Fried said Amikam was
“not active in the second conference and is not involved in the third
Although Maccabi Health Services’ Maccabi Tiv’i complementary
medicine company “was claimed as a partner,” the health fund’s spokesman, Ido
Hadari, stated that the use of Maccabi’s name had never been authorized for use
by the organizers and the website and was not taking part in any way in the
“We demand that our names be removed from the website or we
will take legal action against Fried,” he said.
Shaare Zedek Medical
Center director-general Prof.
Jonathan Halevy – who wrote a book five
years ago investigating what scientific proof existed for various complementary
medicine techniques and gave it a generally poor grade – was shocked to discover
that his hospital was listed as a “partner.”
He, too, demanded that his
institution be removed from the website.
He had spoken at a reception for
the 2010 conference but, unhappy with it, was not involved with the May
conference, he said.
Dr. Menachem Oberbaum, who is director of the Center
for Integrative Complementary Medicine at Shaare Zedek and a practitioner of
homeopathy, told The Post that the previous conference was commercially and not
scientifically motivated and on a low level and predicted that attending the May
conference would be “a waste of time.”
Asked to comment, Fried said that
over 100 participants, more than half of them physicians, were coming from
abroad. He could not yet say how many Israelis would attend. He added that some
Israeli physicians, such as one from Herzog Hospital, will give lectures. Asked
about the listing of Wolfson Medical Center director-general Dr.
Berlovich as a member of the scientific committee, he said, “That was from the
last conference, but he hasn’t said he is leaving.”