FOUNDATION DOCUMENT – BASIC PRINCIPLES
We, the undersigned, have founded a professional, expert-driven body with the intention of upgrading and improving the care and management of the Covid-19 crisis.
As an independent professional body, we undertake the following commitments:
- To rely upon evidence-based science and medicine, procedures and lessons learned, tested and validated in the past.
- To uphold the principle of civil liberties and the rules of medical ethics, which we consider to be inviolable at all times, and especially at a time like this.
- To act with full transparency, to publish the information upon which the Council bases its discussions, conclusions and recommendations, and to make this information available to the public.
- To create space for all forms of scientific and social discourse and discussion, provided that they are open, transparent and mutually respectful.
We are confident that the use of professional tools to examine, process and analyze information; the adoption of a social perspective; and the adherence to public transparency, can restore balance, trust and hope during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in which Israel finds itself.
The Council will regularly examine real-time data, research and approaches, both in Israel and around the world, in order to formulate conclusions and operative recommendations with regard to the most appropriate conduct, basing itself on five fundamental principles, which we consider to be sacred:
- Responsible, ethical and balanced medicine
Medicine that is faithful to the principles of scientific and social diagnosis, treatment and prioritization, so that resources are allocated according to an exact prioritization of all factors of morbidity in Israel. Thus, will the sacred principle in medicine— “First, do no harm” —be upheld.
- Maintaining the autonomy of both patient and practitioner
Each individual has exclusive autonomy over his/her body, as well as the absolute right to make decisions according to his/her personal belief system and values. Coercion for medical interventions, as well as sanctions meant to force a person to accept treatment, should be unequivocally avoided. Informed consent must be respected, as must the freedom to make decisions according to one’s world outlook.
- Immediate reinforcement of the health system
A strong health system with sufficient resources will make it possible to deal with Covid-19, while at the same time maintaining the quality of care in all other fields of medicine.
- Focusing on the health of the individual in a broader context
One of the roles of a caregiver is to be a source of comfort, hope and optimism, emphasizing the chances of recovery. Intimidation and aggressiveness undermine the willingness to comply, arouse mistrust, and promote secondary illness.
- Medical management that takes into consideration societal and community issues
Public policy during a crisis must prevent the collapse of the weaker elements of a society. Crisis management must take into account all health, social and economic factors. Besides those who have contracted Covid-19—as well as those who are more susceptible to contagion—there are many other vulnerable segments of the population, including children, pupils, the weaker socio-economic classes, the elderly, the chronically ill and the severely disabled.
With these principles in mind, the following statements have been derived:
- From a scientific point of view, lockdowns are an ineffective tool for handling the Covid-19 crisis
Lockdowns harm society, the economy and general medical practice. Testimonies from studies, and observations in many countries, show that the benefit of lockdowns is questionable, limited and short-term, whereas the harm they cause is pervasive and profound. There is currently no qualified medical or scientific body that supports the imposition of lockdowns.
- Differential defense systems must be built, focusing on protection of the weak, the vulnerable and the helpless
Actions must be based on ongoing risk assessment, from which protective measures can be carried out in accordance with the needs of each segment of the groups at risk. This will make it possible to balance the risk of Covid-19 infection with other risks, e.g., medical neglect, economic collapse, depression and isolation.
- A new information system must be created that will change the discourse and the means of dealing with the epidemic
A basic value in human society, and one that is paramount in medicine, is helping people to focus on sources of strength, hope and success. Decades of research have proved that such positive thinking and optimism foster mental health and medical recovery. Moreover, intimidation, threats and negative messages lead to mistrust, contrary behavior and poorer results from medical interventions and treatments.
- The vaccine is important and encouraging – but it must not be forced, either directly or indirectly
The existing evidence regarding the vaccine indicates its safety. Although there is not yet enough information about its long-term effects, it seems that the vaccine may be a turning point in dealing with the epidemic. However, coercion or the use of positive or negative reinforcements is unethical and is contrary to the principles of patient autonomy and informed consent.
- Schools must be opened immediately
The younger age groups are the main victims of the Covid-19 crisis, even though evidence shows that they are rarely affected directly by the virus. The severe damage caused to children and youth must be reduced by opening the schools at once, and by reintegrating the pupils into regular studies, with emphasis on the academic, emotional and social benefits derived therefrom.
As members of this independent, apolitical body, we declare that our sole purpose is the desire to promote a balanced, credible and transparent policy regarding health, welfare and the economy. We declare that our activities as a Council are carried out voluntarily and with dedication, without any conflict of interest. We believe that the accumulated collective knowledge of our members will create the platform essential to developing a rational strategic vision for managing this crisis.
In light of all of the above, we guarantee that the Council will act resolutely and transparently on every possible level, in order to promote and improve the health and quality of life of all Israeli citizens, in accordance with the above basic principles, field data and Council discussions and recommendations.