It’s easy to take for granted the wide range of services available in the U.S. to enable those living with disabilities to better integrate into society and reach their potential. Many Israelis with disabilities, however, still find themselves excluded, as transportation and living options are still limited, and more forward-looking attitudes towards those with disabilities are a relatively new development in Israeli society. Activists like Yoav Kraiem work tirelessly to further the cause of disabilities rights in Israel, and while there is still a long way to go, real progress is being made.
There are 697,000 adults in Israel living with disabilities, making up 17.9% of the population. 241,000 (6.2%) of them have severe disabilities, and a further 456,000 (11.7%) have moderate disabilities. 17.9% of the adult population, unable to fully participate in mainstream society and without the kind of support they would enjoy in the US, support they need to live an independent, productive lifestyle.
Israel Unlimited is the initiative by the Ruderman Family Foundation, in conjunction with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the State of Israel, to improve the lives of those with disabilities or chronic illnesses that cause impairment, through a wide range of programs tailored to meet the needs of all disabled Israelis. The goal is to help every Israeli achieve their maximum level of independence, while also enabling them to participate in society at large.