Friendship Park in Ra’anana 390.
(photo credit: Erik Sahlin)
Shoham is the best place for children with disabilities to find inclusion and
acceptance within the education system, according to the findings of the
country’s first-ever “Inclusion Index,” aimed at monitoring and ultimately
improving how local authorities relate to children and adults with
Shared exclusively with The Jerusalem Post Thursday and due
to be formally released on Sunday, the index was created by Bizchut, Israel’s
human rights center for people with disabilities, in conjunction with the
Israel/Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation. It examined whether six
municipalities – Shoham, Holon, Nazareth, Dimona, Karmiel and Hod Hasharon –
effectively integrated children with disabilities into the local educational
system. The index assessed, among other parameters, the educational, social and
rights awareness of children with disabilities in each place.
its pilot phase, the index found that Shoham is the most inclusive city overall,
with the total number of children with disabilities exercising their right to
inclusion in the regular school system greatly surpassing those of the other
places. Karmiel and Hod Hasharon came in second and third places respectively,
while Nazareth and Dimona had much weaker grades, and Holon came in
For this initial round, the municipalities were chosen for
evaluation based on their geographical diversity and their representation of the
country’s different social economic levels.
“The index proves that
equality and inclusion are not only a function of the economic standing of the
authority, but also a function of their willingness and commitment to this
approach,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family
He said one of the biggest surprises was that Karmiel, which
does not have the strongest socioeconomic status as compared to the other
municipalities, reached second place – while Holon, which is known as the “City
of Children,” did not invest enough in inclusion.
Executive Director of
Bizchut Esther Sivan also expressed surprise that Holon, which was chosen by the
Education Ministry for a pilot project aimed at personalized education services,
was at the bottom of the index.
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However, she said that the index’s goal
was to encourage local authorities to address any lack of inclusion so that
children with disabilities will have equal opportunities, and in the future be
fully included – socially and economically – in employment and public
While this version of the index examined inclusion for children
only within the education system and focused only on the efforts of six
municipalities, in the future it will be expanded to examine other
muncipalities’ welfare efforts, housing, access to transportation, entertainment
and employment for both children and adults with disabilities.
in-depth parameters used to assess the first batch of six local authorities,
including information provided by the municipalities themselves and the
Education Ministry, are already being applied to additional municipalities – and
those findings are expected to be released this coming September.
Bizchut spokesman said the six municipalities had received a copy of the index
on Thursday and it is hoped they will use the information to improve outreach to
their area’s disabled residents.
The full report is available on the
organization’s website, he said.
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