The digital age we live in has brought new ways to harm and abuse

February 17, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin has participated in the launch of the #לא_עומדים_מהצד (DontStandBy) initiative at Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem.

President Rivlin with participants

Director-General of the Ministry of Education Shmuel Abuav and Director-General of the Ministry of Public Security Maj Gen (ret) Moshe (Chico) Edri also took part in the event and spoke about the work of their ministries in this field, as well as young influencers on social media who are taking part in the initiative and heads of organizations and youth movements dealing with children and young people.

Noa Kirel was the host of the press conference and singer Agam Buhbut performed her song ‘Little Girl’. Other participants include Omer Hazan, Stephane, Ofek Adanek, Luai Ali, Reef Neeman, Kim Or Azulay, Kevin Rubin, Shiran Sendel, Karin and Ariel Kleinberg and Dennis.

The initiative, in partnership with the Ministry of Education’s psychological-counselling service, includes a range of activities on social media using the hashtag #לא_עומדים_מהצד (‘DontStandBy’)

President Rivlin said: “The story of a kid who has to bear such great pain is the story of many children, too many. Not because social exclusion and bullying are new, but because the digital age we live in has brought new ways to harm and abuse.

I am proud to see who is with us here today – educators, influencers and opinion-formers, young people who have decided to pick up the gauntlet and say enough is enough. We will not stand by. We will not stand by, because even if it is not the easy thing to do, it is the right thing to do. We do not stand by. And next time we see a hurtful response near us or online, we will speak up against it, report it to the app, a parent or a teacher. We do not stand by, and if we see someone who is bearing the pain of abuse or exclusion, we will go up to them and say, ‘I’m with you.’

We will remember, always, how it felt to be on the other side, the one who was hurt, and will think about how we want others to treat us. Verbal violence kills. It kills children’s dreams and hopes every day and has already claimed the lives of children who did not find a way out of the suffering and ended their own lives. We have all come across cases of verbal aggression and violence. And when I say all of us, I mean myself as well. I also get violent responses on social media and even though I am a grown up, it is still hard. We must not allow this to become routine. We must not stand by when we come across behavior like this, even if it is not aimed directly at us. Let us promise today, together, all of us, to save lives and not to stand by!”


Director-General of the Ministry of Public Security Maj Gen (ret) Moshe (Chico) Edri said: “The complex reality and the rapidly developing world of technology dictate the need for this initiative, which aims to get those who stand by – the silent majority – to take a stance, to do something and not to be silent any more when it comes to exclusion and bullying of children and young people. The National Child Online Protection Bureau, established by Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan MK, is a unique, innovative and ground-breaking body at the international level, and is a partnership between the Ministry of Internal Security, Israel Police, and the Ministries of Education, Social Welfare, Health and Justice. This is a civil-law enforcement body which aims to increase online personal security and to protect children and young people on social media. In a world-first, police and civilians are working together in a single national bureau.”

Director-General of the Ministry of Education Shmuel Abuav added: “To be an Israeli citizen and to be a graduate of the Israeli education system is to be a person with values and mutual concern. A person with a sense of justice, who works for the good of the whole and for society at large. A person who promotes mutual responsibility and does not stand by. As educators, we ask Israeli schoolchildren – have you witnessed other students being harmed? Has one of your friends been bullied? They cannot stay silent. Report, talk, stop. Do not allow it to pass you by. It is in your hands.”

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