President Reuven Rivlin and young Israelis launch an anti-bullying campaign at the Presidential Residence, Jerusalem, February 16, 2020. (Government Press Office, Amos Ben Gershom) Government Press Office, Amos Ben Gershom
President Reuven Rivlin and young Israelis launch an anti-bullying campaign at the Presidential Residence, Jerusalem, February 16, 2020.

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“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,” said Rivlin.

By United With Israel Staff 

Amid a plague of bullying and social exclusion in social media and on apps, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin is leading an initiative for schoolchildren and young people to fight against it, the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem has announced.

The president took part in the launch of the project, named “DontStandBy,” on Sunday.

The initiative, in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education’s psychological-counselling service, includes a range of activities on social media, said the statement from Rivlin’s office.

“The story of a kid who has to bear such great pain is the story of many children, too many,” bemoaned the president at Sunday’s ceremony, “not because social exclusion and bullying are new, but because the digital age we live in has brought new ways to harm and abuse.”

He pledged that “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.”

He warned: “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.”

“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,” said Shmuel Abuav, director general of the Education Ministry.

“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,” said Abuav.

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