A groundbreaking new joint initiative was established to assist olim (immigrants) with disabilities prior to their aliyah, as well as throughout their integration process.
This dramatic change in policy will assist new olim to receive recognition from the appropriate welfare offices prior to their arrival, enabling immediate servicing upon their move to Israel.
This breakthrough will also enable those with disabilities to better understand the services and resources that will be available to them immediately upon making aliyah and ease their acclimation accordingly.The new initiative is in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel, Israel’s Welfare and Social Affairs, and Aliyah and Integration ministries, together with the Nefesh B’Nefesh and Qualita Aliyah organizations.A press release on behalf of these organizations said that the new joint initiative “will revolutionize the aliyah process for people with disabilities, enabling them to exercise their right to immigrate to Israel and more easily integrate into Israeli society.”
Most notably, the initiative will aid immigrants with disabilities in starting the process with the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry prior to their aliyah, meaning in their country of origin. “The goal, therefore, is to institute their rights even prior to immigrating to Israel, as well as to allow their integration to be adapted to their individual needs,” the press release stated.
Olim with disabilities face troubles making aliyah
Up until now, a new oleh with a disability would need to first arrive in Israel and only then begin the process of qualifying for recognition of the disability and receiving the assistance they are entitled to from the state - which can take an extended amount of time.
As a result, the aliyah process for families and individuals with disabilities would be severely delayed or prevented altogether due to major uncertainty regarding the rights they deserve from the ministry.
Furthermore, the fear that they will not find adequate solutions upon their arrival in Israel has been a deterrent from fulfilling their aliyah dreams.
THIS INITIATIVE has been discussed throughout the years, but since Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog has become chairman of the Jewish Agency, he has been promoting a policy of opening up the world of aliyah to all types of Jews in the Diaspora, including those will special needs. This topic is especially close to his heart, as the founder and chairman of the rehabilitation village "ADI Negev-Nachalat Eran," which has become a model for integrating people with disabilities.“This is a major step in the revolution we are leading for the rights of people with disabilities,” said Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen.
“This is a major step in the revolution we are leading for the rights of people with disabilities.”Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen
“The new initiative will make it much easier for olim with disabilities to settle in Israel and will prevent a situation in which their aliyah is delayed and/or prevented due to a challenging process. From now on, every immigrant who arrives in Israel and lives with a disability will receive full rights immediately upon arrival.”
Cohen thanked Almog “for his commitment to the issue of integrating people with disabilities, as well as Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata for her cooperation.""We have the obligation and moral responsibility to make things as easy as possible for new immigrants – in particular for the individuals and families of immigrants with disabilities – and to correct a long-standing reality that has hurt an entire, voiceless population that is already struggling with many other hardships,” Tamano Shata said. She also acknowledged Almog for the initiative, as well as Cohen."My son Eran, who was born with a severe mental disability, was my greatest life teacher and taught me more than anything about the place of the weak in society,” commented Almog, who named his rehabilitation village after Eran. “We must do everything in our power to allow people with disabilities to exercise their right to make aliyah and facilitate the process of integrating them into Israeli society immediately following their arrival in Israel.”
The Jewish Agency chairman added that parents of a child with a disability “have many difficulties and concerns about immigrating to Israel,” and that “now we can ease their concerns and provide them with a sense of certainty and security. This is our Zionist and moral duty.”Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, said that “this new initiative is a breakthrough that will help potential olim with a special needs family member in immeasurable ways. Over the last twenty years, I have seen families unable to fulfill their aliyah dreams due to this tremendous challenge.
“We are all excited to share the news with all the families who have been waiting for this new law.”