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Inclusive Israel Resource Packet

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Inclusive Israel For in the image of God has God made mankind Genesis 9 6 3 PRINCIPLES OF SUCCESSFUL INCLUSIVITY IN ISRAEL

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INTRODUCTION By Heidi Krizer Daroff North America Director February in Washington DC usually means shorter days colder temperatures and snow For the past several years though it has meant something entirely different throughout the Jewish World February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month a time when Jewish organizations schools synagogues and the like spend time learning about how to create a more inclusive environment Inclusion is a value that we hold in the highest esteem at the Israel Forever Foundation Indeed our founding mission was to establish a global Israel engagement organization that was accessible to all Jewish people regardless of where they live how religious or not they choose to be or how they vote Most importantly it truly does not matter what is in their wallet Israel Forever prides ourselves on providing dynamic Israel related content year after year at no cost to participants So when we began to learn more about the needs of children and adults with disabilities our team approached this with the same openness and respect To help bridge the gap between our global Jewish community and people with disabilities in Israel we have published blogs about an array of organizations we have partnered with that strive to ensure a more fulfilling life for all We have shared stories about the accessible park at LOTEM the bike ride for the kids at ALYN the incredible employment opportunities for all of Israel s disability population at ECommunity the heartwarming work of Friendship Circle and over the past few springs we invited everyone to help raise money for a therapeutic kitchen through the Swim 4 Sadna as part of a yearly fundraiser for the students at Sadnat Shiluv When the Israel Forever Foundation opened an office in Jerusalem our team was excited to learn that they could purchase delicious lunches prepared by the adults of Shekel On my various trips to Israel I make a point of visiting incredible disability inclusion projects going on throughout the country to build relationships between Israel Forever and the people of Israel who are so dedicated to the ideal of inclusion Last summer the highlight of my trip was touring Alah Negev with its founder IDF Major General res Doron Almog Seeing the beautiful village he and his wife created and learning how the state of the art therapeutic facilities helped adults with disabilities as well as wounded IDF soldiers was an experience I will never forget We are pleased to provide an ongoing opportunity for employment of adults with disabilities through our VCIREwards program partner Buy For Good Buy For Good is a social impact company making a real difference by empowering adults with disabilities to earn a living We are proud to once again attend the Jewish Disability Awareness Month program on Capitol Hill to join with so many other organizations and individuals who are committed to ensuring that all members of the population have opportunities to contribute and build meaningful relationships Our goal through these various efforts is to raise awareness of the dynamic organizations in Israel who are pouring their heart and soul into ensuring a welcoming society for all and to inspire similar initiatives in Jewish communities around the world In keeping with our mission of connecting people around the world to their love of Israel the team at Israel Forever invites you to write a Letter of Friendship to an individual with special needs living in Israel We hope that you will participate in extending a hand and widening your circle to include people of diverse abilities YOU can help bridge the geographical and social divide and put a smile on their faces with your warmth and kindness 3 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT Inclusion is given different priority in different societies Even when it is agreed that inclusion is a worthy goal the amount of effort invested and the methods applied vary How are Jewish values reflected in the ideal of inclusion Do you think that the way inclusion is handled in Israel is different than the way it is approached in your community If so why What can Jewish communities around the world learn from the Israeli approach to inclusion In the following packet we have attempted to define what The Israel Forever Foundation sees as the underlying principles of the Israeli approach to inclusion including examples of specific initiatives Our hope is that these will provide inspiration for inclusion in Jewish communities everywhere and provide an additional way to connect with Israel through organizations that make your heart sing and in the joy of knowing what the tiny Jewish State has achieved If you can dream it you can make it real 4 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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Principle 1 No One Left Behind Society is made up of many parts different people from a wide variety of backgrounds each with their own set of abilities While people differ in their capabilities one life one soul is not worth more than another This means that everyone should have access to the same life experiences Exclusion is not a failure of the person with special needs but of the society that found it acceptable to leave that person behind PARK CHAVERIM RA ANANA INCLUSION BECAUSE THAT S WHAT FRIENDS DO By Judi Felber www israelforever org interact blog park_chaverim_raanana_inclusion_because_thats_what_friends_do When I first moved to Ra anana a city in the heart of the southern Sharon Plain of the Central District of Israel everyone told me that I must go to Park Ra anana So I went Of course there were the requisite playground areas but one area was quite different and special The Park Chaverim Friendship Park is Israel s first fully inclusive and accessible playground Inclusion is the key word here The park area is fun for ALL children irrespective of ability Because of that ALL kids of ALL abilities play TOGETHER On the carousels that can accommodate a wheelchair kids play together not just those who use wheelchairs Swings are made like hammocks so that even kids with weak muscle tone can play I personally like the mushroom swing where a few friends can hang together and swing around It s inclusion in the true meaning of the word This covered play area is actually arranged like a clock so that children with visual impairments can orient themselves to where each piece of play equipment is located Outside of the covered play area there is a maze where children can play hide and seek or just chase each other around The colorful painted walls and the varying heights of the walls encourage play acting which prompts children with communication issues to interact with others at their 5 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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ability and comfort level Words aren t important here but smiles are The music area is for all children especially those who enjoy and experience the world through sound They bang on the different tubes with the attached mallets or with hands The wheelchair accessible sound platforms make different tones depending on where on the platform there is pressure standing jumping rolling Anybody can install a few playground swings that are adapted for children with physical disabilities That s nice but it separates children by disability It s not really inclusion My friend who has one child with developmental delays and others without says she loves Park Chaverim because all of her children can play at the same place and have fun together Park Chaverim was spearheaded by Beit Issie Shapiro which fosters tolerance and inclusive attitudes for all children Beit Issie Shapiro is a social start up in the field of disabilities which started as a school for children with severe cognitive disabilities and grew from there Park Chaverim has become the model for many other inclusion parks around the world Judi Felber is the Communications Coordinator at Israel Forever DISCUSSION QUESTIONS What is the difference between making sure that there are special facilities on the playground available for children with special needs and creating a playground that is completely adapted to differently abled children What does playing in a playground like this teach typical children 6 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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THE IDF HAS ROOM FOR ALL By Yossi Kahana www israelforever org interact blog the_idf_has_room_for_all In Israel the vast majority of typical high school graduates serve in the Israel Defense Forces IDF but did you know that thousands of young people with cerebral palsy autism and intellectual disabilities were turned away from service These individuals had been turned away from proudly serving their country until Special in Uniform opened the door for them Special in Uniform is a unique program now operating in partnership with Jewish National Fund JNF integrating young people with autism and other disabilities into the Israel Defense Forces IDF and in turn into Israeli society Its core belief is that everyone belongs and has the right to reach his or her full potential Special in Uniform focuses on the unique talents of each individual participant to help them find a job within the IDF that is a perfect fit for their skills and in helping keep Israel safe and secure Recently soldiers from Special in Uniform received a warm welcome by Prime Minister Netanyahu at a Graduation Ceremony for Israeli Air force pilots The graduation ceremony for the new Israeli Air force pilots is a very prestigious event in Israel it is conducted in the presence of the cadets families senior government officials the Prime Minister as well as top air force and army leaders One would never think to integrate disabled soldiers within this kind of occasion a ceremony honoring IAF graduates Now this has become an integral part of Israel identity as a caring society The strongest members of society are giving over unconditional love and reserves of strength to the most vulnerable among us Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the graduation ceremony underscored the IDF s spirit of inclusion A strong nation is one that does not leave its most vulnerable members behind Netanyahu said Israel is the only nation in the world that has a strong army with the ability to include people with disabilities Last summer my family and I were honored with an invitation to visit an Air Force Base to witness a unit of Special in Uniform at work among the soldiers was Omer Lahat a young man born with cerebral palsy whose father served as a combat pilot in the IAF and whose dream was to become a soldier After Richard Bernstein being blind since birth went on to become the first blind State Supreme Court Justice in the United States he said You come to realize that there s tremendous power within you Richard s accomplishment is an inspiration to all those working to overcome a disability Also for Omer physical limitations did not hold him back from attending high school and graduating 7 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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with honors after which point he pursued his dream to serve in the IDF through the Special in Uniform program Omer was the program s firstever wheelchair bound participant and opened the door to many others Omer story is the story of Israel JNF is extremely proud to have partnered with the Special in Uniform program said Yossi Kahana Director of the JNF Task Force on Disabilities the program has grown in the amount of participants and there is currently a long waiting list Over this past year it has expanded its presence to include 15 IDF bases across Israel From 158 soldiers at the end of 2015 we reached 300 soldiers at the end of 2016 The big vision for the program to quickly ramp up to 1 000 enrolled participants in the next four years Special in Uniform is changing the fabric of Israeli society helping to create a more caring and inclusive society in Israel by promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in the IDF at the national level Yossi Kahana is the Director of Jewish National Fund s Task Force on Disabilities an umbrella and coordinating body for the range of JNF partnership programs that serve people with disabilities throughout Israel Prior to joining Jewish National Fund Mr Kahana worked for 17 years at Aleh Israel s largest network of residential facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities A former paramedic with Magen David Adom Mr Kahana works tirelessly to breathe life into the mantra Everybody belongs DISCUSSION QUESTIONS What is the importance of creating a program like Special in Uniform People are differently abled What positions can you imagine someone who is differently abled could fulfill in society and play a significant role Consider both those who are physically challenged and those who have cognitive or mental health challenges 8 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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Principle 2 If the Solution Doesn t Exist Create it Yourself In a perfect world solutions would exist for all the challenges of life We would hope that there would be institutionalized programs that would suit people according to their differing needs In Israel due to lack of resources there are often holes instead of solutions That s why most of the Israeli inclusivity initiatives were created by individuals usually parents who needed solutions for their own children and other times people who saw how their individual efforts could contribute to something greater than themselves MAKING INCLUSION A REALITY By Michal Moked Rimon www israelforever org interact blog making_inclusion_a_reality Israel is known for many things the land of milk and honey holy sites hi tech and history but in the past several Israel has been starting to be known for another aspect a global leader in the field of accessibility Instead of just dreaming about Israel today Israel can become a reality for people with disabilities in Israel and abroad There is still a long way to go but nonetheless the change for the better is evident One of the leading organizations in Israel who plays an important role in making this change making inclusion and accessibility a reality is Access Israel Access Israel was founded 19 years ago by Mr Yuval Wagner and his friends Yuval was an Israeli pilot when in March 1987 during his military service he was severely injured in a helicopter crash that left him quadriplegic While recovering Yuval realized that not only does he have to overcome the obvious obstacles of his severe injury but also with never ending challenges caused by an in accessible country that constantly created obstacles and difficulties on a daily basis Moreover at the time there was no awareness in the Israeli society regarding importance of accessibility and inclusion which together with the lack of physical accessibility led Yuval to feel as if he was in house arrest The frustration encouraged him to contact a fellow Pilot President Ezer Weitzman to complain about this situation Following the call President Weitzman gave a direct command to establish an NGO and make a change He assured Yuval that he as the president would support this important cause And so Access Israel was established in 1999 Access Israel is the first and only non profit organization in Israel dedicated to promoting accessibility for people living with all types of disabilities Our objective is to allow people with physical sensory mental and cognitive disabilities to live a full and active life with dignity respect equality safety and maximal independence Over 1 6 million people with disabilities live in Israel today including elderly 18 of the total population Among them some 700 000 individuals are confronting severe disabilities caused by combat injury terrorist acts car and work related accidents and illness Every tenth family in Israel requires accessible services Despite advanced legislation many locations and services in the country such as government institutions municipalities courts health clinics public transportation cultural institutions and commercial centers remain inaccessible to people with disabilities causing great distress and hindering them from leading normal lives In the past 19 years Access Israel has worked hard on promoting physical accessibility at first then we introduced the usability accessibility accessibility of the services provided to the public 9 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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understanding it is not enough to be able to enter a place the importance is on ones ability to receive services like anybody else and be integrated into society as equals Today we understand and work hard on promoting social accessibility changing the DNA of our society of our children in educational programs of adults in training and awareness by promoting activities and more Since it is obvious that the road to full accessibility is still long in Israel and abroad Access Israel understood the importance of creating a human ramp This ramp would encourage connection opportunities to get to know the person behind the disability providing a chance to see the world from the eyes of those with disability developing sensitivity and better understanding on how each one of us can contribute to make a difference and together achieve better integration One of the most successful tools Access Israel developed is the Feast of the Senses dinner Over the past five years Access Israel has been spreading its message around the world and has been holding Feast of Senses dinners which are a way to stimulate the senses and introduce participants to experiences they never encountered before This is a unique experience that promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities The event that enables participants to experience various disabilities while getting to know a person that lives with the same disability in each course of the meal one sense is taken away from you and you are able to experience that course with a disability This enables participants to feel the challenges first hand The first course you cannot see the main course you cannot use your hands and the dessert you have to order without being able to hear the options from the waiter while getting a taste of sign language Everyone is invited to join us in spreading the word enabling Access Israel to promote accessibility and enable the State of Israel to reach any place and anyone based on a common denominator of giving inclusion patience and tolerance Leaving no one behind Michal Moked Rimon is the CEO of Access Israel DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Israeli Air Force pilots are the among the highest of Israel s elite to become a pilot candidates must pass grueling testing that includes almost impossibly high standards of physical capabilities Imagine having proven yourself enjoying the honor and respect that comes with this status and suddenly becoming a quadriplegic How would you feel What would you do if you discovered that many aspects of life were suddenly inaccessible to you What do you think about how Yuval coped with this situation Where can you apply that determination to your life 10 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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CALEB S STORY By Beth Steinberg www israelforever org interact blog calebs_story No there s nobody with special needs in my camper group said 8 year Caleb a Shutaf day camper His mom smiled and continued to ask him about his camp day and favorite activities When she called to tell me the story she asked me Is it possible that his group doesn t have any campers with disabilities I laughed and said Nope not possible Not only did his group have Shutaf s usual mix of 75 campers with disabilities and only 25 or 1 4 of the group campers without disabilities Caleb s group of campers also represented Shutaf s typical mix of needs ranging from learning challenges to Down syndrome Autism Spectrum Disorder cerebral palsy emotional behavioral issues and more That s just how we roll how we include at Shutaf Inclusion Programs in Jerusalem The first time it happened back when we started Shutaf in 2007 we laughed and said I guess that s a fluke The second and third time We started taking more careful notes beginning the process of a data collection process that would show the success of Camp Shutaf s innovative reverse inclusion model and educational approach Mind you inclusion is not the norm in Jerusalem s overcrowded public schools religious and secular where classroom size often exceeds 35 children and 1 overwhelmed teacher Even children with milder learning and or emotional behavioral and social challenges often end up in special education s more restrictive environments because of these very real issues That s where Shutaf comes in At Shutaf we see day camping as the perfect platform for pushing the inclusion envelope Informal education frees educators and parents from the concerns of school curricula focused on academic excellence and achievement At camp children with more limited independent living skills developmental differences or more challenging behavioral disorders can all be given the inclusion opportunity All are welcome in the inclusive Shutaf camp community Like Hallel and her family First Eliav and his younger sister Mia joined Shutaf Then younger brother Adin Last summer Little sister Hallel arrived at summer camp Here s the fun part Hallel has Down syndrome her siblings are typical Their parents chose Shutaf initially because they wanted to expose their older children who are typical to difference and disability Hallel only entered the program this past summer at the age of 6 Her older siblings They d been Shutaf fans for years already 11 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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What s more inclusive and more manageable for families then to be able to enroll all of your kids into one program instead of four At Shutaf we re proud of being able to respond to the needs of children teens and young adults ages 6 23 And if a child moves on to another program we re happy glad that they had choices available to them that responded to their changing needs and interests As it should be Except that most of the greater Jewish community and beyond are still a bit frozen on the subject of inclusion disability and acceptance What seems like the right thing to do is too often held back by fear by lack of experience and by lack of opportunity Today let s start with the first step Don t know someone with a disability Find someone You shouldn t have to look too far given that 15 of the world s population an estimated billion people has a disability of some sort That s a friend A friend s child or teen An older family member The person you pass on the street Say hi Get to know their story Listen and learn Next time Step 2 Beth Steinberg is the executive director and co founder of Shutaf Inclusion Programs offering yearround informal education programs for children teens and young people with disabilities in Jerusalem Shutaf is committed to an inclusive teaching model that welcomes all participants with and without disabilities regardless of religious cultural and socioeconomic differences Beth moved to Israel in 2006 from Brooklyn N Y She regularly writes about parenting issues on the Times of Israel and is the artistic director of Theater in the Rough creating engaging theatrical experiences for Jerusalem audiences DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Would you send your typically developing child to a Shutaf style program If not why not If yes what do you think a child would learn when participating in such a program 12 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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Principle 3 Turn the Disadvantage into an Advantage Israel is a small country with limited resources This reality has nurtured a mindset that insist on winning with the tools at hand The same mindset that fuels the StartUp Nation drives inclusivity projects how can we win with what we have We look for the strengths in the individual adapt for their weaknesses and everyone benefits THE FINAL FRONTIER EXCERPTS by Ira Caplan www israelforever org interact blog the_final_frontier Ecommunity s Founder and CEO Dani Kogan created the company following inspiration he drew from his young autistic son He wondered of the world in which his son will grow up the limited collective understanding around his condition and certainly limited work opportunities Dani s son helped him find a new angle instead of limitations he saw his son s strengths It was then that Dani realized the affinity and collective priority inherent in recycling electronics This kind of detailed work with circuitry is generally therapeutic for people with autism and many other special needs Because unmanaged metals are toxic to our air and water they can t simply be discarded or land filled they must be either refurbished or properly dismantled The decent wage sense of purpose and favorable association of environmental work restore the individual s dignity and develop skills yielding professional inclusivity with the multifaceted socio educational message now prioritized among top international Jewish organizations Intellect Discipline Constructive purpose And as is trackable from Ecommunity s dynamic growth Power A glance of Autismspeaks org reveals that diagnoses are increasing and with them the need for understanding and cogent response It s troubling it is We don t fully understand it and we don t have all the answers for it when both are sorely needed A 2006 Harvard study estimates the lifetime caretaking costs of an individual with autism at 3 million per person Yet Judaism s age old adage stands composed unrattled amidst the chaos It states calmly The solution is given before the problem Individuals with autism and other similar conditions tend to cope not so perfectly with overstimulation with abruptly changing and or unpredictable environments They require familiarity stability and high affinity relationships with those who understand and respect them and their 13 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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needs Of course we all need this We just have a different threshold one considered normal which we all know is uh what Maybe persons with autism and other disabilities are reminding us of the essentials for navigating the storm we re in where the technology the content and the agendas driving both move in any given direction at any given time Dani and his son and so many like them have already given us the answer At times of utmost change recognize and hold to what has always endured Israel s ancient roots and modern reemergence shine forth with historical continuity Dani Kogan CEO and Founder of eCommunity Environmental values well rooted provide continuity Collaboration partnership and calculating for the needs of others provide continuity And the technology itself with all family members friends and members of society involved can also support well being and inter generational continuity All of these together are an Enterprise one that can ride out the storm and reach what is ultimately important the future toward which the Matrixial advancements are heading The advancements are incredible they are dazzling and often disquieting Ecommunity located in the Misgav Industrial Park is a national fully compliant electronics recycling enterprise whose workforce is comprised primarily of people with special needs www ecommunity org il DISCUSSION QUESTIONS E Community created a win win situation by creating a workplace for people with special needs that provides a service that is needed by the general population Are you familiar other such enterprises Where do you see disadvantages regarding special needs that could possibly be turned into an advantage 14 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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AUTISM IN THE IDF MEET THE SOLDIERS OF INTELLIGENCE UNIT 9900 IDF Blog www idf il en minisites soldiers of the idf autism in the idf meet the soldiers of intelligenceunit 9900 Special intelligence Unit 9900 is dedicated to everything related to geography including mapping interpretation of aerial and satellite photographs and space research Within this unit there is a small unit of highly qualified soldiers who have remarkable visual and analytic capabilities They can detect even the smallest details undetectable to most people The uniqueness of this elite group of intelligence soldiers in Unit 9900 lies in the fact that they are all diagnosed on the autism spectrum We interviewed Col J the commander of Unit 9900 in order to learn more about this inspiring group of soldiers This a soccer field in Gaza In depicts a before and after image of a hidden weapons Cache First time in history After many doubts and expectations the project came to light after almost a year of processing There were many problems along the way The actual process took about a year and I want to say that we started with the assumption that this could should and would succeed says Colonel J confessing that the success of this project exceeded the optimistic expectations of its initiators 15 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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The concerns were understandable because I knew nothing about autism The result was a task of trial and error Everything we did was happening for the first time in the history of the IDF We planned worked and focused until we achieved success How does this group fit in with the other soldiers They have excellent relations with the soldiers of the unit from time to time out of the building where they work I see them sitting with others in the unit having lunch or just having a cup of coffee No one forces them to do so It is very natural and I think that says it all What type of work do they do Their job is to take visual materials from satellite images and sensors that are in the air With the help of their officers and decoding tools they analyze the images and find specific things they need in order to allow those who are planning a mission to get the best data of the area How it all began The RR Plan Mr V and Ms S veterans of the IDF and the intelligence organizations introduced an idea to utilize the special strengths of people on the autistic spectrum for the needs of the IDF and Israeli intelligence They contacted Unit 9900 who showed great interest in the idea and decided to be a partner for the first trial interpretation of aerial and satellite photographs They then Contacted the Ono Academic College a private academic institution and registered NGO which also has a school for health professions Ono Academic College has a vision of Changing the face of Israeli society and therefore its management decided to Join the initiative and together they set up the RR Program Roim Rachok which in Hebrew means looking far beyond the horizons The aim of the RR Plan is to teach people on the autistic spectrum professions that utilize their special abilities thus creating a Win Win effect The courses take place in the Ono Academic College After the students finish the 3 month course they join the army where the RR program is still involved in guidance and assistance of the soldiers and their commanders 16 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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Today when everyone can see the success of the first trial course graduates the RR plan is developing two more courses that utilize other strengths of the autistic spectrum One course is for software quality assurance QA and the other is for information management Both courses are developed in cooperation with Intelligence Units of the IDF which will eventually be the home units for the course graduates Unit 9900 s special contribution It is important to remember that people on the autism spectrum have strengths in music mathematics as well as the visual field These autistic soldiers of Unit 9900 play a major role in intelligence gathering a role not easily filled due to the difficulty of the task of this unit The IDF believes in the ability of these autistic soldiers and will continue to work for their advancement in military and civilian life DISCUSSION QUESTIONS The IDF is one of the most important institutions in Israeli society What does it mean when such a significant body chooses to find an advantage in a condition normally considered a disability How does that influence the rest of society The Special in Uniform project finds a way to enlist special needs soldiers so that they are not eft out of the opportunity to serve and defend our homeland Unit 9900 has integrated soldiers with autism because the IDF can benefit from utilizing capabilities they have that are more highly honed than that of typical people What advantages do you see these two different programs as bringing to society 17 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org

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INCLUSIVITY ORGANIZATIONS Israel is full of excellent organizations and initiatives creating an inclusive Israel In this pamphlet we ve mentioned some of the organizations Israel Forever has had the honor of working with SHEKEL www shekel org il ALYN www alyn org Shutaf www campshutaf org Sadnat Shiluv www sadnat shiluv co il Ecommunity now a national fully compliant electronics recycling enterprise whose workforce is comprised primarily of people with special needs www ecommunity org il Buy For Good www buyforgood biz ABOUT ISRAEL FOREVER The Israel Forever Foundation is an engagement organization that develops and promotes experiential learning opportunities to celebrate and strengthen the personal connection to Israel as an integral part of Jewish life and identity www israelforever org 18 Israel Forever Foundation www israelforever org