Video : DIVX, 720x480, 44:41
Audio codec: mp3, 48 kHz, stereo
Languages: Hebrew spoken, English hard subtitles
In 2004 this film was shown in Israel at the international film
festival of Haifa (where it won the prize for \'Best Documentary\')
and also on Channel 10.
X-RAYED TO DEATH IN ISRAEL IN THE 1950\'S:
When the USA were founded it was to be the land of the free,
yet it took almost another 100 years for slavery to be abolished
(formally) and the aftereffects can still be seen in a society
that is somewhat segregated. Even as late as 1970 medical
experiments were conducted on African Americans without their
consent or knowledge (e.g. the Tuskegee Syphilis Study).
The State of Israel was founded in 1948 in order, amongst
others, to provide a safehaven for Jews where they would not have
to fear persecution. The Zionist movement spearheaded the way
to Aliya (return to Israel) and was largely composed of Ashkenazi
Jews (mainly of Middle and Northern European descent) who later
became the dominant group in the state, many of them bringing
with them a feeling of European superiority, while Mizrahi Jews
(mainly from Arabic speaking countries like Morocco and Iraq)
were implicitly regarded as second or even third class citizens,
often having a darker skin tone, dark hair and speaking Arabic
at home. They were frequently perceived as simple, poor, criminal,
uncultured, unhygenic, diseased and possibly even a security
risk (apocalyptic fantasies of officials then included political
rebellion and siding with the Palestinians).
In this documentary a sad and disturbing chapter of Israel\\\\\\\'s
history is unveiled when Jewish survivors of medical maltreatment
with hot wax and X-rays (officially to treat ringworm, a minor
skin disease) tell the story of what Israeli government employees
brought upon them. It appears that many were subjected to the
program even if they did not have ringworm (almost like a cleansing
Most of the mistreated 100,000 or so Mizrahi Jews were children,
some died a few weeks after been given an X-ray overdose to their
heads, many more died before old age of leukemia or are still
plagued by chancer and other radiation related conditions.
The program was administered by the Israeli Ministry for Health
under the title of \'social medicine\' and the pretext of ringworm
treatment, the funding and the 7 X-ray machines may have been
provided by the US government. The then head of the public medical
services in Israel states that the Isreali government received 300
million pounds for conducting the program (at the time a lot more
than the annual Israeli budget) which does not show up in the public
accounts of the time. The radiation treatment of ringworm had led
to many court cases in the USA in the 1940ies and often the courts
awarded high damages for the aftereffects.
In the 1995 the Israeli parliament passed legislation providing
compensation for victims of the X-ray \'ringworm treatment\'. This
step was taken to avoid a Supreme Court ruling on the matter which
may have awarded higher damage compensation after investigating the
cases in detail. But for many victims this measure brought further
humiliation and no true recognition of their suffering.
Why were the parents not informed and pressured into sending
their children on a \'trip\'?
Was it a systematic genocide as part of a cynical experiment?
Did a doctor execute a destructive plan without anybody else
noticing or knowing?
Are the Israeli authorities at present covering up just out of
embarrassment about negligence or was there premeditated
involvement of the highest government circles at the time?
Genocide is a crime punishable under international law. The \'Convention
on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide\' (signed
by Israel in 1949 and ratified in 1950) defines GENOCIDE as follows:
...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy,
in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious
group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
http://web.israelinsider.com/views/3998.htm (-> Review of the film)
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/310/6976/350/a (-> article)