'Corporal punishment is educational'

Survey: One in three Israelis believes hitting children is way of teaching them.

school kids 298 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
school kids 298 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
One in three Israelis believes in corporal punishment as an "educational method" for children, a survey conducted by the Geocartographic Institute for Or Shalom - a nonprofit organization that provides foster care for children who have been removed from their parents' custody - revealed. Respondents to the survey, published on Sunday, were asked to what degree they agreed with the following statement: "Hitting children is a way of teaching them." Nearly 33 percent (32.8) of those asked said that they "agreed somewhat," "agreed," or "strongly agreed." A significant gap was noted between the percentage of men who believe in corporal punishment (38%) and the percentage of women who do (28%). CEO of "Or Shalom" Meirav Yedida said the numbers were shocking, but not surprising, "Even one of the members of the Knesset's Committee on Rights of the Child expressed his support of violence against children as a disciplinary method." "Our society has to understand that children who experience violence grow up to be violent citizens," Yedida said, "and we see the results every day." According to Yedida, clause 19 of the Children's Rights Treaty, which Israel is signed on, says, "Member countries are to take appropriate legal, social, and educational steps in order to protect the child from any type of violence." Three weeks ago, MK Shmuel Halpert (UTJ) stirred heated reactions when he admitted during a Knesset committee session on children's rights that he hit his children, and expressed his regret that parents have stopped using corporal punishment. According to the Or Shalom survey, 40% of the respondents who defined themselves as "haredi" support corporal punishment, in contrast to 33% of the "traditional" and 30% of the "secular" participants. A geographic analysis indicated that the highest number of people who believe in corporal punishment for children live in the nation's largest cities - Jerusalem (36%), Haifa (34%), and Tel Aviv (32%). In contrast, only 25% of those living in the Sharon Region support hitting children. An examination of the ethnic backgrounds of those surveyed indicated a divergence in attitudes: 40% of Sephardic Israelis support corporal punishment, as opposed to 30% of Israelis of Ashkenazi descent. In addition, a greater number of new immigrants believe in hitting children (36%) than do native Israelis (21%).