Haredi students wear face masks
Haredi students wear face masksYossi Zeliger/Flash90

Health Communication Lecturer at IDC Herzliya International School Dr. Yaffa Shir Raz today responded to a letter by the Israel National Council for the Child in which the Council declines to take a position on an earlier query by Shir Raz regarding face masks for children.

In the query, Shir Raz requested Council intervention in an incident where armed police stormed a kindergarten, to which the Council agreed that the incident demanded intervention. The Israel National Council for the Child noted that it maintains "constant contact with the senior professional authorities" and "makes its voice heard sharply and clearly" regarding law enforcement vis a vis children "in general, and in the days of COVID-19 in particular." The letter goes on to list the Council's activities to achieve "essential worker" status for Social Workers during the first lockdown.

However, the Council says the issue of face masks is "controversial", decisions regarding which are based on "medical considerations, and the Council does not have the professional tools to make such a determination. We absolutely disapprove of the fact that you chose to call the obligation to wear face masks 'abuse'."

Dr. Shir Raz responded: "I think the world has turned upside down and that even the bodies that are supposed to protect children are confused. Completely confused."

"The National Council for the Child has no intention of interfering with the imposition of masks on young children, claiming that 'they do not have the professional tools to examine the issue.'

"At the same time, they absolutely disapprove of my choice to call this coercion 'abuse'. According to the director of their referral and assistance center, there is not the slightest similarity between the fact that the children cannot breathe and abuse, and it also 'cheapens the acute and damaging meaning of child abuse, which includes physical, sexual, and psychological abuse'."

Dr. Yaffa Shir Raz
Dr. Yaffa Shir RazCourtesy

Shir-Raz continues: "Really? Do you also lack professional tools to examine abuse, or are you mere 'child abuse deniers'?

"The inability to breathe is the most severe form of physical abuse imaginable. And when it comes to small children, who have to sit with it for hours on end, and also run with it while they play during breaks, it is unimaginable and unbearable abuse.

"Health considerations? Is there even the slightest scientific proof that a mask protects children? Because if not, and you know very well that there is no such thing, since children are not at risk (even if they are infected), then enforcing the masks is definitely an abusive act and abuse of the power we adults have over children."

Dr. Shir-Raz concluded: "Who are you really defending there in the Council?"