Founding Document – Basic Principles
We the undersigned hereby found an expert-based professional body for the purpose of enhancing and improving the response and management regarding the coronavirus crisis. As an independent and professional body, we commit ourselves to:
a. Relying on science and evidence-based medicine, procedures and conclusions that have been tried, examined and validated in the past.
b. Adhering to the principle of individual rights and the principles of medical ethics, which serve as our guiding principles at all times and especially so during these times.
c. To act with full transparency and publish the information the council relies on in its discussions, conclusions and recommendations, and to make it available to the public.
d. To allow and make room for any and all scientific and social discussion and debate, so long as these are carried out with openness, transparency and mutual respect.
We are convinced that the examination, processing and analysis of the available information using professional tools, and based on social considerations and public transparency, will aid in the restoration of balance, trust and hope in the continuing coronavirus crisis Israel is in.
The council will conduct ongoing examination and analysis of real-time data, studies and approaches from Israel and the rest of the world in order to draw conclusions and operative recommendations for the most appropriate management, based on five basic principles which we hold sacred:
- Responsible, ethical and balanced medicine
Medicine that is committed to diagnosis, treatment and prioritization based on scientific and social principles, in order to ensure correct priorities in the allocation of funds for all illness factors in Israel, and thereby serve the sanctified principle of medicine: primum non nocere.
- Respecting the autonomy of the patient and the care-provider
Every person has the sole right over their own body, as well as the sole right to make decisions based on their personal belief system and their own scale of values. It is unequivocally forbidden to impose medical intervention upon a person, or to impose sanctions for the purpose of causing a person to accept treatment. A person’s informed consent and their freedom to reach a decision based on their world-view and perceptions must be held sacred.
- Immediate strengthening of the health system
A resilient health system with adequate funding will enable dealing with the coronavirus disease while maintaining the quality of care in all other fields of medicine.
- Focusing on the person and their health in the full sense
It is the care provider’s duty to serve as a source of comfort, hope and optimism for the patient, while emphasizing the prospects for recovery. Intimidation and a focus on negative prospects hinder cooperation, create distrust and induce secondary illness.
- Health-care management based on social and community considerations
Public policy during a crisis must prevent the collapse of society’s weakest tiers. Crisis management must consider the full range of health, social and economic aspects, since in addition to coronavirus patients and those sectors who are most vulnerable to harm from the virus, there are many other sectors at the forefront of vulnerability, including children, pupils, people living under compromised socioeconomic conditions, the elderly, chronic patients and helpless persons.
On the basis of these fundamental principles, we draw the following premises:
- Lockdowns are not a scientifically effective means of dealing with the coronavirus crisis
Lockdowns harm society, the economy and broad realms of health care. Evidence from studies and observations in numerous countries show that their benefits are questionable, partial and short-term, whereas their damages are manifold and severe. There is at present no official medical or scientific body which supports instituting lockdowns.
- Differential protection systems should be constructed, and efforts concentrated on focused protection of the weak, vulnerable and helpless
Actions should be taken based on ongoing risk assessment, leading to divergent protection based on segmentation of risk groups. This will allow balancing the risk from coronavirus against other risks, such as medical neglect, economic collapse, depression and loneliness.
- A new information service should be constructed which will change the conversation and the response to the epidemic
A fundamental value of human society, and most central to medical practice, is encouraging a person to focus on their sources of strength, optimism and success. Dozens of years of research have shown that such positive and optimistic messages strengthen health as well as medical and emotional recovery. Moreover, intimidation, threats and negative messages undermine trust, induce uncooperative behavior and are detrimental to medical and intervention outcomes.
- The coronavirus vaccine is important and encouraging – but must not be imposed, directly or indirectly
The existing evidence on the vaccine testifies to its safety, and although there is not enough long-term information at present, it appears that it may provide a turning point in dealing with the epidemic. However, imposing a vaccine or using positive or negative reinforcements such as rewards or sanctions is unethical, and contradicts the principles of patient autonomy and informed consent.
- The education system must be reopened immediately
Younger aged children are those most harmed by the coronavirus crisis, despite considerable evidence that they are rarely harmed clinically. The grave damage to children and youth should be reduced by the immediate reopening of the school system, and the involvement of all pupils in regular school studies, and proper emphasis should be placed on their academic, emotional and social benefits.
As members of this independent and apolitical body, we declare that our sole aim is the desire to advance balanced, trustworthy and transparent policy with regard to health, welfare and the economy. We declare that our activity in the council is carried out with dedication and on a volunteer basis, without conflicting interests, and based on our belief that the combined cumulative knowledge and expertise of our members will serve to create the crucial synergy needed for a rational strategic view of the management of the crisis.
In light of all of the above, it is our commitment that the council shall act with determination and transparency in every realm, in order to advance and improve the health and quality of life of all Israeli citizens, in accordance with these basic principles, and in line with the best information on the situation, with the discussions of the council and with its recommendations.