DISABILITIES & SPECIAL NEEDS

Living our values. Ensuring no Israeli is left behind.

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As part of our focus on improving the quality of life in Israel for all its citizens, Jewish National Fund is ensuring that no member of Israeli society is left behind. The fact that nearly 13% of Israel’s citizens are considered physically or mentally challenged is an opportunity for us to live our values. We believe passionately that the inclusion of people with disabilities and special needs should be woven tightly into the fabric of Jewish life. All the more so in Israel.

That is why, as Israel continues to grow beyond its bustling Tel Aviv-Haifa-Jerusalem Corridor, our focus on services for people with disabilities and special needs is strategically located in the Negev and Galilee. 

Through a variety of initiatives and partnerships, JNF is providing state-of-the-art rehabilitative services, special education and medical care in areas where they were previously unavailable. Beyond the medical, we are also ensuring that recreational facilities, including forests, parks, picnic areas, playgrounds and nature trails, are inclusive for visitors of all ability levels. 

Last year, Emek HaShalom, a completely accessible nature preserve that’s totally wheelchair friendly, welcomed one million visitors—including many of the 35,000 citizens with special needs.  

Join us in this special work. Your donation to Disabilities & Special Needs will help make Israel a more inclusive and more loving community.

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State-of-the-Art Rehabilitative Services

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Jewish National Fund provides unparalleled rehabilitative services, medical care, and special education for people with severe disabilities, helping them reach their potential for communication and development. At ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, a world class rehabilitative village located in the heart of the Negev, we empower residents and outpatients to develop a greater degree of independence and become productive members of Israeli society. ALEH Negev has set a new benchmark in the fields of special education and rehabilitative services and is being closely studied by experts from around the world.

Special Needs and the IDF

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) goes beyond ensuring the security of Israel; it provides those who serve with valuable professional and social life skills. Serving in the IDF is an integral part of life for young Israelis and is why Jewish National Fund works with Special in Uniform to give youth with disabilities the opportunity to integrate into the IDF. The program was founded to give everyone a right to fulfill their potential and be accepted into society, regardless of any disability. After an initial assessment, participants attend a 3-month life skills and occupational training program to help them integrate into their bases and function independently. They also take part in a four-day military training course before being assigned to bases across Israel where they take on jobs ranging from preparing protective kits to culinary work. Special in Uniform goes beyond the walls of IDF bases, helping its graduates integrate into the workforce and Israeli society in meaningful ways.

 

Making Nature Accessible

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Hiking is a national pastime in Israel and unites all who participate. Jewish National Fund understands the vital role that hiking plays in Israelis’ lives, and the immeasurable impact making nature accessible has, not just on the individual with a special need but on their family and the community as well. In partnership with LOTEM, we offer field trips, accessible hikes, and creative workshops in nature for people of all ages with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. All of these activities have been adapted to the needs of its participants to maximize the learning experience of each individual: people with visual impairments are able to use three-dimensional models and read explanations in Braille; children on the autism spectrum are provided with illustrated communication tables; and those who use wheelchairs are taken to accessible nature sites, including Jewish National Fund’s first inclusive park, Nahal HaShofet.

THERAPEUTIC HORSEBACK RIDING

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Therapeutic riding has been widely used since the early 1950s as a tool for improving the lives of people with a range of cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments. But the costs involved in therapeutic riding are significant: from the cost of training horses, to the specialized equipment and facilities needed, to making sure the right team of doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, and educational advisers is in place to help participants. As part of its focus on ensuring that no member of Israeli society is left behind, Jewish National Fund provides therapeutic horseback riding at the Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center located at Kibbutz Grofit in the Arava Valley.  The center offers weekly horseback riding therapy to nearly 200 children and adults with physical and mental disabilities as well as emotional and behavioral issues.
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