web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Israel’s Silent Revolution


As revolution sweeps across the Middle East at a dizzying pace, cries for freedom, equality and an improved standard of living ring out, touching millions around the world and bringing hope to millions more. Finally, their voices are being heard. Progress is being made.

Still, an important segment of the population goes unheard as they cannot participate in high-profile protests or even voice their grievances and concerns. The mentally and physically disabled are underrepresented throughout the Middle East and there are few signs of this changing any time soon. Progress is at a standstill.

Everywhere, that is, except Israel.

Over the past few years, Israel has launched a quiet revolution of its own. Residential and treatment centers for the disabled, once funded and run exclusively by private individuals and initiatives, have now garnered government funding, support and participation.

Influential Israeli corporations in the fields of technology, defense and telecommunications are making projects to support the disabled population a priority, contributing significant amounts of time and money to the cause.

In addition, public discourse on equal access for the disabled has set in motion a heroic effort by the management of thousands of eateries, malls, schools, office buildings and theaters to ensure that their facilities are accessible to one and all. And the discussion extends well beyond government offices, corporate boardrooms and activism meetings.

A recent conference in Jerusalem gathered together religious leaders, teachers and celebrated thinkers to publicly address the need to include the disabled in religious life. In an effort to “ground” their soldiers, institutions like the IDF, Mossad and Shin Bet have all made assisting the disabled a crucial part of the training process for advanced officers.

So, what brought about these dramatic changes?

I believe the key has been a national re-evaluation of life and what makes it worth living. Israel has transitioned from its obsession with identifying one’s abilities – due, in part, to a history fraught with trials, persecution and an ongoing struggle for survival – to a deeper commitment to the value of human life.

Instead of gauging one’s worth according to his or her military profile, we have come to the realization that every human life should be treasured, even those who will never contribute to society. An example from my own life should help clarify the point.

Many of the children in my care suffer from severe disabilities as a result of complications during childbirth. Extreme prematurity, prolonged lack of oxygen and other traumas have left these children in a very difficult state. They are the babies you don’t normally hear about. They aren’t the ones who “passed away too soon,” or the miracle children celebrated far and wide. They are born injured and their limitations are extreme. They will never speak, write or walk on their own. They will never earn a college degree or hold a steady job. They are completely dependent on our care.

There was a time when families were so ashamed of such children they would leave them at our doorstep and disappear, sometimes even fleeing the country. But today, this is simply unheard of in Israel. The families of disabled children, and the communities in which they live, see a soul – like yours or mine – trapped in a damaged body. Not something to be ashamed of but rather someone who needs more love and support. This is the principal upon which our silent revolution continues to thrive.

As Major General (res.) Doron Almog, one of the most vocal champions of the disabled population in Israel, has said, “Our generation will be judged by the way we treat the weakest members of society.”

Not surprisingly, the revolution has benefited all who embrace it on many levels. When one spends less time seeking out those who can advance his own position and more time seeking out opportunities to give of himself, life becomes more rewarding and truly worth living.

As an entrepreneur who supports our work recently said, “I have never seen such an investment in a project that exhibits no clear results for a bottom line, and yet the results for those involved are truly invaluable.”

While the revolution marches on, progressing at a pace previously unimaginable, Israel still has one more hurdle overcome. We must find our voice and share our story with the rest of the Middle East, with the world. In short, the revolution can no longer move forward in silence.

About the Author: Shlomit Grayevsky is the founding director of ALEH Jerusalem and assistant director General of ALEH (www.aleh.org), Israel's largest network of residential facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Israel’s Silent Revolution”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
UN Human Rights Council
UN HRC Condemns Israel (But Not Hamas) for War Crimes
Latest Indepth Stories
Jelgava Synagogue, Latvia

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

United Nations Building, New York City

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Zuckerman-070315

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

wedding cake

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

More Articles from Shlomit Grayevsky

As revolution sweeps across the Middle East at a dizzying pace, cries for freedom, equality and an improved standard of living ring out, touching millions around the world and bringing hope to millions more. Finally, their voices are being heard. Progress is being made.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/israels-silent-revolution/2011/03/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: