Thursday, December 5, 2019

The unique challenges of Israel's periphery communities

Ahmad: He's mentioned below
Earlier this week, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, held an important conference under the title "Periphery at the Center". Some 500 participants attended including government officials, domain experts, mayors, local council heads, journalists, academics and Members of Knesset.

The event focused on the challenges facing Israel's outlying areas - the periphery communities located relatively far from Israel's centers of population in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and the Coastal Plain.

According to a Knesset report [here], the subjects under discussion included economic and social resilience, employment and economic development, personal security, education, culture, art and aspects connected to how the periphery communities are represented in the media.

"In Israel there are 257 local authorities, and 200 of them are dependent on the government's support," Ministry of the Interior Director-General Mordechai Cohen said at the opening. "The heads of local councils go from ministry to ministry and beg for alms! We need to think outside the box."

Data presented by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed that communities in the periphery have the highest percentage of smokers and people who are overweight. And the lowest percentage of people who exercise.

Among some of the other worrying data points presented to attendees:
  • In the periphery, 30.9 out of 100,000 people are killed in road accidents, compared with 18.6 in central Israel communities.
  • About a quarter of the residents of periphery communities simply give up on getting medical treatment because of distance factors.
  • 54% of residents travel great distances to receive medical care
  • A third of periphery residents are unhappy with the state of available health services
At the Malki Foundation, we are only too aware of the challenges and the failures that follow. We are proud of our Therapists on Wheels program which for years has made a valued, straightforward and relatively simple contribution to allieviating some of the periphery's problems.

Ahmad Mutlaq is one of the talented and dedicated physiotherapists who works in our program. He travels to the homes of children with disabilities in the South in order to deliver in-home, and much needed, therapy service. Read more on our website about Ahmad and the children he treats ["Bringing therapy to children in the south"].

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