It is a well-publicized time for your country to be in the news, if it begins with “i” and is located in the Middle East. (My apologies to India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iceland and Ireland. There is much of note going on in your interesting sovereign states as well, but I’m pressed for time.)

I think it goes without saying that the incredible and still very much unfolding series of events in Iran are very much on everyone’s mind. (For an amazing example of this “citizen journalism” everyone’s talking about, read this intense reporting from Saturday’s protests.) There has been a gratifying amount of coverage about how—and how much—this revolution will change the roles women can play in Iranian society. If you’re looking for a good distillation, I’d recommend Roya Hakakian’s recent interview. Hakakian, a Jewish Iranian who’s been covering Iranian-American issues for a variety of sources for some time, points out that the more Iranian men have and continue to understand their rights as intertwined with those of Iranian women, the stronger the movement will be.

Meanwhile, news cycles march on everywhere. The State Department released a report on human trafficking around the globe; unfortunately, not much has improved in Israel since visited the issue a few years ago. Israel remains a tier-two country, and the report singles out the lack of victim services (shelter, medical, psychological, etc.) as the most pressing need. You can download the report here. Meanwhile, New York’s junior senator is proposing a plan to get infertility treatments much more widely covered by insurance policies, much as they are in Israel. (Having learned so much about the sometimes debilitating side-effects of hyper pro-natalism from Barbara Gingold, I’m interested in seeing where this leads. New York is as totally broke as any other state, of course, so this may all lead nowhere quite quickly.)

While the Mac folks develop the inevitable iCountry app (ten points to the person who best describes such a thing), the actual I-countries keep us on our toes.

–Mel Weiss

One comment on “I-Countries

  1. Andrea on

    While Israel’s policies and liberal coverage of ART and fertility treatment are clearly a reflection of the hyper-pronatalist stance of Jewish Israel, the fact that even with private insurance most people can’t get fertility treatments covered in the U.S. is something that I believe needs to be revised. People need all types of fertility treatments – from surgery to remove or repair damaged tubes or ovaries – to drugs and even monitoring and blood work. People often jump to an image of everyone having IVF (in vitro) covered by the state but the reality is that there are so many reasons people wind up needing the help of medical science to try to conceive. I myself and numerous friends and family members have dealt with fertility issues in one way or another, including more than one friend who has entered the world of alternative reproductive technology because of a cancer diagnosis or pre-mature ovarian failure. If insurance companies were required to offer coverage for fertility treatments, there would likely be the development of more standards, and this tricky area would be less of a consumer driven market. I’m not advocating the level of coverage that the state of Israel offers its citizens, however, it seems that states could follow the example of Massachusetts in mandating private insurance to provide coverage. Especially when most insurance companies cover the cost of medications and treatments to deal with erectile disfunction. If you want to learn more about stories of people dealing with fertility issues or about efforts to change policies check out REsolve website.

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