On Monday, December 2, 2013, Bethlehem Bible College’s Media Center for “New Vision” hosted the Honorable Rabiha Ziab, Minister for Women’s Affairs, Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa of the Ministry of Communications, as well as a number of media personalities active in the field, to engage them in a TV dialogue concerning national initiatives to counter the phenomenon of violence against women.

Minister of Women’s Affairs, Rabiha Ziab, called for a strengthening of social programs involved in this endeavor, and the facilitating of joint efforts between organizations involved in this work, pointing out that this phenomenon of violence against women is an international social phenomenon, and that its increase this year over previous years is attributable to several factors, including traditional fixed mindsets, ignorance, poverty, and other factors. Ziab also called attention to the importance of activating the role of national institutions to counter violence against women as well as underscoring the values of education in this regard, teaching democratic values of sharing and contributing to the Palestinian community, and limiting the private agendas of some institutions. She emphasized the involvement of the media in dealing with this aspect of social violence, and their initiatives to mobilize public opinion to counter such violence through cooperation with both government and civic organizations, and to increase media coverage in space and time, and in training media workers to cover violent crimes and to produce documentaries discussing the issue of violence of all types, whether caused by the occupation or caused by social factors. She also called for the training and involvement of female journalists who had experienced violence at the hands of the occupation forces.

Ismail Gahshan, General Director of the Southern Province in the Department of Communications, confirmed the necessity of establishing a lobby to pressure for the passing of legislation aimed at protecting women from social violence and increasing social awareness campaigns to combat this phenomenon.

Linda Jeraisa, Head of Social Services in the “Mehwar Center” discussed the problems existing centers for the defense of women are facing, and the urgent necessity of paying greater attention to instituting better means to protect women, a point of view strongly supported by newsman Hassan Abdel Jawad, who tied any independence of women to their economic independence, and that the way to counter this phenomenon of violence against women demands powerful sustained feminine action to enact legislation to protect women from discrimination and to underscore their political and economic roles.

Wafaa Zeidan, TV reporter for El Fajr Al Jadid (the New Dawn) pointed to the role of local media in promoting women’s causes, and protecting them from all forms of violence and discrimination. Maher Youssef, another media correspondent, presented aspects of a public opinion poll on the issue of violence against women, particularly murder, which form of violence has increased in scope in Palestinian society.

The debate was organized and inaugurated by journalist Lana Amin, Manager of the Social Affairs Unit for the Department of Communications for the Province of Bethlehem, and the interviews were conducted by journalist Samia Abou Hammoud.

Following the taping of the program, Rev. Dr. Jack Sara hosted the Honorable Rabiha Ziab and Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa, Deputy Minister of Communications, as well the guests and speakers on the program in Bethlehem Bible College’s new building, and welcomed the cooperation between the College and the Palestinian Department of Communications.

The program will be aired on satellite TV next Friday at 4:00 p.m. as part of a weekly series prepared by BBC’s Media Center, and through which the Center underscores democratic values both in Palestinian families as well as in society as a whole.