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'Over 1 million Israelis live with disabilities'
By DANIELLE ZIRI
12/03/2012
According to JDC-Israel report, more than a million adults live with disabilities – 12,000 of whom live in institutions.
 
According to a recent report released by JDC-Israel for International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which took place on Monday, more than a million adults in the country live with disabilities – 12,000 of whom live in institutions or with assisted living systems.

The organization’s figures showed that 19 percent of Israel’s adult population suffers from moderate to severe disabilities, while 6% have mild disabilities.

The population growth rate of people with disabilities in Israel is about three times that of the rest of the population.

More than 260,000 of Israel’s disabled are entitled to social security benefits, a number that is rapidly growing, according to the report.

About another 50,000 people receive a disability pension from the IDF, and 200,000 receive support and benefits from other sources.

In terms of employment, about 40% of the young unemployed in Israel are disabled.

Only 52% of people with disabilities in Israel have a job, compared to 74% for the general population.

The average salary among people with disabilities is about NIS 6,300, compared to others who earn on average about NIS 2,000 more.

Disabled people are three times more likely to develop chronic diseases than the rest of the population. They are also twice more likely to be victims of violence.

Jay Ruderman, the president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which focuses on inclusion of the disabled, addressed the issue on Monday, saying, “While it’s important to have a day that focuses on people with disabilities, true inclusion of this largest majority population in Israel is only going to happen if we focus on this issue on a daily basis,” he said.

Avital Sandler-Loeff, head of the Israel Unlimited program that aims to develop services for the social integration of the disabled, addressed the need for their inclusion in community life, beginning with housing.

“Most of the resources invested today are institutional solutions, but there is a need to produce systems of independent housing in the community,” she said.

“There needs to be a new generation of services for people with disabilities who want to be involved in society and contribute to it,” she continued.

“It is important that people with disabilities know that there are systems that can help them, such as supportive communities which work to advance their independence,” Sandler-Loeff added.

“Alongside with the existing aid, it’s important to continue expanding it and reach as many people as possible,” she concluded.
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