Borrowing a page from First Lady Melania Trump’s Be Best campaign against cyberbullying, on Sunday, President Rivlin took part in the launch of the DontStandBy initiative, which he followed with a video clip in which he speaks from his picture hanging on a classroom wall to children from all parts of Israeli society, asking them to get involved when they witness bullying.

The campaign also includes short clips with tips from online influencers sharing their advice on how to not stand by and to deal with bullying; a special Instagram page which will include all the tips, clips and pictures; working with children’s TV channels such as The Children’s Channel, Educational TV and Nickelodeon; working with leading influencers on their own channels; and creating an Instagram filter with the president in the frame that children can use to photograph themselves with him and post a story as part of the campaign against bullying.

President Rivlin is leading an initiative for schoolchildren and young people against bullying and exclusion. / Amos Ben Gershom (GPO)
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“The story of a kid who has to bear such great pain is the story of many children, too many,” said the president. “Not because social exclusion and bullying are new, but because the digital age we live in has brought new ways to harm and abuse.”

“I am proud to see who is with us here today – educators, influencers and opinion-formers, young people who have decided to pick up the gauntlet and say enough is enough. We will not stand by,” President Rivlin said. “We will not stand by, because even if it is not the easy thing to do, it is the right thing to do. We do not stand by. And next time we see a hurtful response near us or online, we will speak up against it, report it to the app, a parent or a teacher. We do not stand by, and if we see someone who is bearing the pain of abuse or exclusion, we will go up to them and say, ‘I’m with you.’”

“We will remember, always, how it felt to be on the other side, the one who was hurt, and will think about how we want others to treat us. Verbal violence kills. It kills children’s dreams and hopes every day and has already claimed the lives of children who did not find a way out of the suffering and ended their own lives. We have all come across cases of verbal aggression and violence. And when I say all of us, I mean myself as well. I also get violent responses on social media and even though I am a grown up, it is still hard. We must not allow this to become routine. We must not stand by when we come across behavior like this, even if it is not aimed directly at us. Let us promise today, together, all of us, to save lives and not to stand by!” the president said.

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