Update – The Case Against WiFi in Schools in Israel
by Dafna Tachover, EHS Fights Back, 10 December 2012
In May I started to fight the Israeli Government against WiFi in schools and for acknowledgement of EHS. The correspondence led to the first written acknowledgment of the Government of EHS and to some change in the policy regarding WiFi in schools, however, that change was insufficient as the only reasonable policy is a complete ban of WiFi in schools. Therefore, on August 29th, 2012, I submitted a case to the Israeli Supreme Court against the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environmental Protection asking the court to order a ban of WiFi in Schools.
A non-profit organization that acts to promote a more reasonable use of wireless technology and one of the national parents associations joined the claim. Attorney Michael Bach agreed to represent us. He is experienced in Supreme Court cases and this issue is close to his heart. In the petition we also requested ex-parte temporary injunction but the court rejected the injunction request following the government’s claim that it intends to limit the use of wireless networks.
Link to the Petittion to the Supreme Court (Hebrew):http://stopwifiinschool.co.il/images/docs/legal/Bagatz_Petition_26Aug2012.pdf
On September 7th, 2012: The Government submitted its response stating that it intends to issue a decree to the schools by October 1st with the intent to practically ban the use of WiFi.
On October 1st, 2012: The decree was issued by the Ministry of Education. Following our efforts prior to the lawsuit, the lawsuit and contrary to its original intentions, the Ministry of Education in the decree effectively banned Wi-Fi in schools, except in those cases in which a safety expert determines that the use of wired network may cause a safety hazard. Despite this decree, hundreds (if not thousands) of schools in Israel are operating wireless networks; many of them with the funding and encouragement of the Ministry of Education.
Link to the Decree (Hebrew):http://cms.education.gov.il/EducationCMS/Applications/Mankal/EtsMedorim/3/3-6/HoraotKeva/K-2013-2-1-3-6-9.htm
On December 9th, 2012: We submitted our Answer to the Government’s response, in which we claimed that we find the decree unsatisfactory.
Link to our Answer to the Governments' Response:http://stopwifiinschool.co.il/images/docs/legal/Bagatz_Reply_Dec2012.pdf
Some of our contentions are as follows:
(1) There is no scenario in which wired network cannot be installed safely, it is just a matter of money.
(2) Forcing even one child to be exposed to radiation from WiFi while in a school, against the parents’ will and despite the admission of the government that this radiation may be dangerous especially for children, is a violation of the human and civil rights of the child and the child’s parents.
(3) While the Ministry of Education declared that it is banning WiFi, in essence in the past 2 years it has been deploying, encouraging and financing wireless networks in schools. Even now, after the decree was issued, not only does the Ministry is not enforcing its policy, but it continues to support the use of wireless networks in schools. We presented strong evidence to support our claims and proved the Ministry of Education actions are dishonest.
What is next?
The oral arguments are scheduled for February 6th. 5 days before the oral arguments the government will be allowed to submit it final response and we will be allowed to respond again up to 2 days before the hearing.
Our achievements so far
We cannot predict the outcome of the case. However, we do consider the petition to the Supreme Court and our actions that preceded it a success for the following reasons:
(1) We got the first written acknowledgement of EHS by the government.
(2) Following our warning to submit the case, the Health Minister issued a letter to the Minister of Education supporting and urging the ban WiFi in schools. Link to the Minister of Health Letter (English): http://norad4u.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/this-is-translation-to-english-of.html
(3) We have provided a document that proves that the Director of the Radiation Department (in the Ministry of Environmental Protection) who is responsible for determining the radiation safety standards, also believes that WiFi in schools should be banned and admitted that the current safety standards are insufficient.
(4) We have created much media and public attention and awareness about EHS, the dangers of radiation and the dangers of WiFi in schools. The media took our side and we sense that there is increasing concern amongst parents and the public in general.
(5) We forced the Ministry of Education to issue a decree that bans WiFi, against its original intentions and actions.
What are we hoping for?
We are hoping to achieve a complete ban in all schools, without ANY exceptions, and immediate enforcement of the ban so no child will be radiated with WiFi while in school.