Double Challenge: Disabilities in Time of War


I want to share with you this snapshot of the recent military conflict in Israel vis a vis people with disabilities.  It was sent to me and my wife Shira by Avital Sandler-Loeff, the Director of Israel Unlimited (a project of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, our foundation, and the government of Israel).

–Jay Ruderman

Dear Jay and Shira,

I am writing to describe to you some of the activities undertaken on the ground by Israel Unlimited during the recent conflict with Hamas.

Toward the end of the conflict we learned that a 45-year-old woman who used a wheelchair (and had two daughters with schizophrenia) had been sleeping on the floor in the corridor for a week because she was afraid she would not be able to get out of bed on time during the sirens at night. She called our Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Beer Sheeva. Our volunteers from the CIL arranged a room for her and her daughters in Kibbutz Hagoshrim in the upper Galilee.  Soon she was able to get a good night’s sleep in a real bed.

Over the course of the conflict those of us from Israel Unlimited– with the help of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)– distributed 125 portable toilet kits, 300 first aid kits, and provided direct service to hundreds of people with disabilities in Beer Sheeva.  We worked with the emergency coordinator there and fifteen volunteers from Ben Gurion University. We were able to move almost 200 people with mental illness to more peaceful accommodations outside of the conflict region of Negev. Our coordinators in the affected communities in the Negev and the whole accessibility community worked around the clock. We checked people’s needs constantly and reacted very quickly.

Let us hope that the fire cease will continue to hold.


1 Comment

Filed under Disabilities rights, Disabilities Trends, General News, In the Media, Initiatives, Uncategorized

One response to “Double Challenge: Disabilities in Time of War

  1. Beit Yael

    We here at Beit Yael, the Center for the Blind here in Safed had a call from vision impaired patrons who had attended our Mini Residential Program in the summer. They were from Kiryat Malachi and they hoped that they could come to us to get away from the shelling. Sadly they were not able to make arrangements and we didn’t hear back from them. It might have been lack of funds to hire a bus or perhaps they just couldn’t get sufficient people who were interested in being away from their families as such a difficult time. I trust that for them it was a good thing that a ceasefire was arranged and that the shelling stopped.

    Rena Cohen


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