How can societies and governments support families with special-needs members? The Embassy of Israel in Australia in collaboration with the New South Wales Parliament House in Sydney organized an event to shed light on the struggles that these families face and raise awareness about the help they need.
The initiative, which took place in November, included the screening of the Israeli movie “Shoelaces” at the New South Wales state parliament. Directed by Jacob Goldwasser, the movie tells the story of a complicated relationship between an aging father and his special-needs son, whom he abandoned while he was still a young boy. Through the film's portrayal of a relationship full of love, rejection and co-dependency, it manages to shed some light and question the importance of human life and connections.
The film screening was followed by a Q&A session led by Dr Yona Gilead from the University of Sydney, with a panel that included Monique Blakemore from 'Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia', Dr Charlene Zulman, mother of a special-needs child, Jeremy Unger from Israeli Trade and Economic Commission (who talked about Israeli start-ups in this field), and leading actor Nevo Kimchi who joined from Israel on Zoom.
Israeli cultural attaché Noam Inbar and Deputy Ambassador Chris Cantor also attended the event.
“A very powerful evening of fine Israeli cinema, and an inspiring discussion on a very important topic,” said Amir Maimon, the Israeli ambassador to Australia
“We would like to thank everyone involved and especially to Rev. Hon. Fred Nile MLC and the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel for co-hosting the event with us and the members of the panel from both Australia and Israel.”