Ministry ups special needs integration efforts

Welfare and Social Services Ministry published first ever report on proper integration into society of people with special needs.

December 11, 2012 05:24
2 minute read.
Likud Minister Moshe Kahlon

Likud Minister Moshe Kahlon 311. (photo credit: Avi Hayun)


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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 special needs.

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.

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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 interests.

“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 society.”

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.

In 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 community facilities.

“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 continued.

“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 community.”

The ministry also stated that it will be initiating a new campaign in 2013 promoting the issue.

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