On Tuesday morning, the Welfare and Social Services Ministry published for the
first time a report on the proper integration into society of people with
The report, which was produced by a special committee
appointed to examine the issue, focuses on laying out a series of measures to be
taken in order to combat the NIMBY (“Not in My Back Yard”) phenomenon, which in
this context refers to a growing trend of rejecting people with special needs in
communities and neighborhoods across Israel.
The NIMBY phenomenon is
particularly characterized by residents of different communities in the country
refusing to accept houses for people with disabilities into a neighborhood on
the basis of fears, prejudices or, sometimes, economic
“Combating this requires a change in attitudes, public
relations and educational activities,” the document said. “The Welfare and
Social Services Ministry will take a series of measures to solve the problem and
will work for a good integration of people with special needs in
The report concluded that integrating into society is a basic
right for all people, including those with special needs. The ministry aims to
build assisted living facilities, known as “homes for life,” for people with
special needs in neighborhoods and communities all over the country.
order to allow a successful integration, these homes will be in communities
where such initiatives that have yet to be started.
According to the
ministry, these facilities will be built within “a reasonable distance of
existing homes” in order to enable inclusion and integration of residents with
special needs “in an appropriate manner.” An emphasis will also be put on
increasing the accessibility of social services buildings, cultural centers and
“We must allow the integration of people with
special needs in every city and town in Israel,” Welfare and Social Services
Minister Moshe Kahlon said in a statement.
“I believe that the findings
of the committee will help create a good balance between the right of people
with special needs to live anywhere and the needs of the local community,” he
“I see the integration of people with disabilities as a social
and national task of primary importance.”
Welfare and Social Services
Ministry director-general Nahum Itzkowitz said that “the right to integrate into
society should be implemented in such a way that people with special needs don’t
just live within residential communities but are also really part of the
The ministry also stated that it will be initiating a new
campaign in 2013 promoting the issue.