Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who was in tears in May during a cabinet discussion of his bill to integrate people with disabilities into society by tackling issues such as housing and transportation, has since said that passing the law has been his greatest achievement.
For everyone in the field, recognizing the rights of disabled people in law is a crucial step in acknowledging a population that sometimes feels it is hidden from view and forgotten.
The official Social Services Law for People with Disabilities promises to change the legal rights that the state guarantees to those with special needs. It commits to offering independent living in the community, with life-skills training and access to therapies. While focusing on people with mental illness, autism, or vision and/or hearing impairments, the law is likely to have a lasting impact on the treatment of all those with disabilities.
Some NIS 2 billion ($617 million) has been allocated to fund implementation of the plan. Its biggest challenge will be to provide services that can easily reach those who need them. Working teams are being put together by the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services to focus on delivery and practical implementation, and to identify any supporting regulations.
Planners will also need to grapple with housing market challenges — finding suitable, affordable spaces for groups of those with disabilities to live together, based in a community they can be a part of.
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