Scene of suspected vehicular terror attack Beit Arieh in the West Bank.
(photo credit: ITZIK HAMAL DIVUHIM)
Although the trauma of terrorism remains with children for a long time, the subject of terrorism was omitted from the 700-page statistical report of the National Council for the Child traditionally presented at the end of each year to the president of the state. The reason is that the report covers a time period prior to the wave of terrorism that has engulfed the country over the past three months.
In presenting the report, NCC executive director Dr. Yitzhak Kadman noted that the effects of terrorism in children, particularly the sense of fear and dread, is long-lasting.
He was also concerned about hatred and expressions of incitement becoming an everyday occurrence.
“We must stop this abnormal situation in which children on both sides are under threat and become terrorists themselves,” he said.
At the onset of his address, Kadman deplored what he called “the intolerable attacks against the No.
1 symbol of the state” and told President Reuven Rivlin that all the children of Israel stand behind him and appreciate both his sensitivity and his courage.
Rivlin in turn responded that, earlier in the week, he had hosted a large number of bar and bat mitzva youngsters who were all victims of terrorism. Referring to Wednesday’s terrorist attack near the Old City of Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate, Rivlin said that now “more children were orphaned as an outcome of terrorism – children who never had the opportunity to say goodbye to their father.”
“Our spirit as a people will never be broken by these attacks,” Rivlin declared.
“We will continue to stand strong.” Rivlin lauded the defense establishment for safeguarding the security of the nation day in and day out.
Kadman noted that this is the 24th year the statistical report on children has been published, and voiced pride in the fact that it can continue to be published and expanded year after year.
“Nothing as comprehensive exists anywhere else in the world,” he boasted.
While many children are living well, he said, there are still too many children living in poverty, too many involved in accidents, too many underweight and undernourished, and too many obese.
The statistics on child victims of violence and sexual abuse are not complete, because not all are reported to the authorities, and services for such children are inadequate, said Kadman, asserting that “Israel is not sufficiently generous to its children.”
Rivlin, who was already familiar with many of the statistics in the report, said that it should be compulsory reading for every government minister and for every mayor.
The president’s wife, Nechama Rivlin, has made the care of children a special priority. She said that the report is a guideline for parents and indicates what still needs to be corrected.