Arab-Israelis are already one of the country’s most vulnerable populations. For Arab-Israelis with disabilities, their struggles are exponentially greater—not only do Arabs with disabilities suffer from prejudices in their own communities; there are also far fewer resources available to help them in Israel. That’s why JDC created Masira, an initiative to unify and strengthen efforts within Arab society to help integrate and empower disabled Arab-Israelis in their communities. Since it was established in 2006, Masira has helped organize the work of 11 non-governmental organizations devoted to work with disabled people, implementing more than a dozen community programs all over Israel. These projects have touched more than 30,000 Israeli-Arabs with disabilities and their families.
As an estimated 250,000 Arab-Israelis suffer from at least one disability, the need for a focused effort to increase disability services is crucial. Masira works to strengthen its NGO partners, adapt information about disabilities rights and services for Arab-Israelis and advocate an attitude shift in Arab society towards people with disabilities. Though each project under the Masira umbrella has targeted a different specific need, they all aim to help Arab-Israelis overcome the major challenges they face every day in Israel.
For questions, contact Soaaud Diab at SoaaudD@jdc.org.
Sachnin-based Al-Manal works to promote the status of people with disabilities in Arab society in Israel through social activities, skills development and workshops to build self-confidence and fulfillment. A grassroots effort partnering with many local community groups and businesses, Al-Manal operates out of its own center, complete with a computer lab and a recreation hall.1
A first of its kind in Arab-Israeli society, Al-Manarah was established in 2005 by Adv. Abbass Abbass as a hub for information about disability rights. It’s name meaning ‘lighthouse’ in English, the organization fights for fair treatment of people with disabilities, and leads through social advocacy and legislative lobbying.2
It is the mission of Al-Tufula to encourage the development of a democratic and civil society in Israel through work with women and children. The organization intends to improve early childhood development services and support women by opening up opportunities outside motherhood. Al-Tufula works to create a social change that will forge a more balanced view of gender roles in Arab-Israeli society.3
The Association of the Deaf in Israel organization works to improve the status and quality of life of the deaf. This has included developing and implementing services for the deaf as well as enacting legislation and pleaded the rights of the deaf in court. In addition, the Association strives to increase public awareness regarding deaf integration into Israeli society.4
Kesher is a unique organization that focuses on the families of children with disabilities, believing that motivated parents and family members are their source of hope and strength. Kesher works cooperatively with organizations across Israel to illuminate and ease the daily dedication these families show to their special children by offering support in their long, complex journey.5
Milbat is an Israeli non-profit that has operated since 1981. The organization works to increase the level of independence, improve the quality of life, and facilitate the integration of disabled children, adults, and the elderly into their communities through the use of technology.6
Social workers in the local welfare departments of the Arab communities of Ar’ara and the Basma Regional Council attended a training seminar on treatment and rehabilitation for people with mental illness. The seminar was held in partnership with Masira, the Ministry of Health, the National Insurance Institute, the Aliufak NGO and the חברת לאומנות לשיקום.