(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor launched a new initiative this week
aimed at increasing the representation of people with disabilities in all
government offices, both national and local, The Jerusalem Post learned on
“It’s important for people to realize that there is an
additional group in our society, and that those with disabilities are able to
work and contribute to the labor market just like anyone else,” Beni Fefferman,
director of the Administration for the Integration of People with Disabilities
in the Labor Market, told the Post in an interview.
Fefferman added that
it was time for the public sector to set an example for businesses, which in
turn would make disabled people more visible.
The initiative, which was
established by a committee made up of directors-general from various ministries,
will encourage all government offices to invest up to NIS 1 million in efforts
to hire people with disabilities of between 40 and 70 percent via manpower
According to Fefferman, this is the only way people with
disabilities can be hired for government work without having to sit through
grueling civil service exams required of all government employees. The exam and
the corresponding bureaucratic hiring process, which are required by law, have
long proven extremely tricky for members of Israel’s various minority
“They will not be full workers of the government,” Fefferman
explained, adding that “three manpower companies will be outsourced to oversee
their employment for a period of four years.”
He said that letters had
gone out urging other ministries to join Industry, Trade and Labor in the
initiative, and that he was still awaiting a response.
“We are optimistic
that others will join us,” Fefferman said. “We have already appointed a person
in our ministry to provide training and assistance to all those
Israel’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Tziona
Koenig-Yair welcomed the initiative.
“I definitely think that an
allinclusive workforce in this age and time is very important,” she said. “And
definitely in the long run, as we learn to be allinclusive, this will provide
Koenig-Yair added: “Israel is a very diverse society
and it is important that we tap into all of our manpower
Yuval Wagner, founder and director of Access Israel, a
nonprofit organization that lobbies for improving accessibility for those with
disabilities, also said the initiative was a positive step, but cautioned that
it needed to be implemented correctly in order for it to succeed.
this program is successful, the government will set an example for the
business sector,” Wagner said.
“However, it’s not only about hiring
people with disabilities – it’s also about making sure they stay in such
positions for a long time and are given the tools to succeed.”
explained that people with disabilities have often been unemployed for
periods of time or have undergone harrowing experiences and need
help and support to get them back in the work environment.
“It’s a very
complex process,” he said, adding that he was also concerned that those
be employed under the initiative would be going through manpower
“This means they will not receive all the benefits that other
government employees receive,” he cautioned. “We will just have to wait
how this plays out.”