Libmonster ID: BY-2361


Doctor of Historical Sciences

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: Israel, immigration, people with disabilities, rehabilitation, adaptation

We will focus on one of the groups of Israeli society and especially "Russian Israel" - Russian-speaking immigrants of the so-called "big Aliyah" (immigration) of the 1990s, as well as those who came to Israel from the CIS countries later. It's about people with disabilities and their problems. People with disabilities make up approximately 1/10 of the total population of Israel. Here, as elsewhere in the world, they have their own specific characteristics, needs, collective and individual identity, a special lifestyle, as well as the specifics of adaptation in society.

Please specify: who are people with disabilities and what is disability? So far, even in the scientific literature, there is no clear and neutral definition of these phenomena. So, the World Health Organization (WHO) distinguishes impairment (loss of an organ, physical or mental disorders), handicap (difficulties in performing any functions or normal human activities) and disability (limited opportunities due to various congenital or acquired defects).1. Hence the difference in statistics provided by different organizations and in different countries. These definitions are associated, in turn, with the presence or absence of social benefits, various benefits, or, on the contrary, restrictions in certain areas of activity.


According to the WHO Disability Report, about 15% of the world's population has some form of health restriction. Of these, 2-4% of disabled people experience significant difficulties in functioning.2 Moreover, these statistics are clearly incomplete due to poor accounting in developing countries or as a result of armed conflicts, etc. Strange as it may sound, it is the success of medicine and public health in developed countries that also contributes to the growth of the number of disabled people (caring for children with severe prematurity; treatment of diseases previously considered incurable; success in gerontology, etc.). It is obvious, however, that people with disabilities make up a huge "segment" of human society that has specific behavioral characteristics, needs, unique experiences, life styles, and much more that requires study and analysis.

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, disability is a consequence of defects that are physiological or functional abnormalities resulting from an illness, accident, etc.3 The State of Israel signed the UN Convention in 2007 and ratified it in 2012.

In Israel, as in many Western countries, there is a distinction between limited opportunities and disabilities. Thus, people with disabilities (anashim im mugabalut) in 2013 there were 1 million 360 thousand people. According to various estimates, there were between 800,000 and 1 million people of working age (i.e., between the ages of 18 and 67).

Disabled people (nahim) - about 600 thousand people (about 10% of the population), of which 220 thousand people of 4 working age - about 5% of the working population of the country.

At the same time," limitations of opportunities "are defined as" health problems that affect the daily activity " of people. And disability is a consequence of health problems that seriously affect their daily lives.

Disability pensions in Israel are awarded to people whose ability to work is reduced by up to 50% (due to limited health opportunities), as well as to housewives whose ability to function in a household is reduced by up to 50%. The level of this working capacity or functioning is determined in Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute in Israel)5.

According to data provided by the Center for Disability Research at the Brookdale Institute (Disability Research Center, Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute), in the early 2010s, among people with disabilities of working age (18-65 years) 17.8% were people with narushe-

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almost 10% - people with sensory impairments (4.2% - blind and visually impaired; 3.7% - deaf and hard of hearing); 2.1% of people with disabilities occurred as a result of chronic diseases. About 16% of disabled people of working age are people with mental and mental illnesses. The rest (about 47%) have a so - called multiple disability - a consequence of a combination of several of the above-mentioned disorders (the most common combination is a combination of violations of physiological functions and mental illnesses-14%)6.

About 220 thousand children from 0 to 18 years of age (8.5%) have one or another disability. Moreover, almost half of them have learning disabilities and behavioral disorders.7

The percentage of people with disabilities in different" sectors "of the State of Israel varies slightly: in the "Jewish sector" it is slightly lower than in the "Arab": 21% and 24%, respectively. But the number of disabled people (nahim) in the "Arab sector" is almost twice as high as in the "Jewish" one (8.8% and 4.5%, respectively).8. In recent years, the proportion of people with mental and mental illnesses in the country has been growing, especially among ultra-Orthodox Jews (Haredim) and in the "Bedouin sector". This can be explained both by the success of medicine (early and more complete detection of such diseases), and by the spread of closely related marriages in these "sectors".

The proportion of people with disabilities increases with age (which is quite natural): from 12% in the age group of 18-25 years to almost 50% in the age group over 64 years. In addition, about 80% of all Israelis with disabilities have received a disability in adulthood, between the ages of 18 and 65,9 (this type of disability is referred to as sudden disability). This is slightly lower than the global average: according to WHO data, the share of such people in the world is about 85% of all people with disabilities (approximately 15% are disabled children).


In addition to the usual causes of disability in Israel (diseases, industrial and domestic injuries), military operations and terrorist attacks contribute to this. Therefore, much attention is paid to the rehabilitation and adaptation-social, professional, cultural and domestic - of people with disabilities in this country. Israel is considered one of the countries favorable for the life of disabled people.

Israel was one of the countries where the struggle of disabled people for their rights began in the 1970s, which began in the United States in the late 1960s. The Knesset introduced an amendment to the Law on Construction Design, which stipulated the need for convenient access for disabled people to public institutions. But the main changes in the situation of disabled people occurred in the late 1990s and 2000s.

Here are just some changes in the country's legislation. In 1998, the Law on Equality of Rights was adopted, which defines the requirements for achieving equality of rights for people with certain health disabilities. The law obliges municipalities to equip all public buildings and spaces (courts, educational and medical institutions, cinemas, restaurants, parks, hotels, etc.) in such a way that they are accessible to all categories of people with disabilities without exception. 10 In other words, the needs of not only people with musculoskeletal disorders (providing buildings with special elevators and ramps) should be taken into account, as it is usually presented in Russia (and what has recently been done in some places in Moscow), but also the needs of the blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing and a number of other categories. For example, for the blind in many public places (transport stops, ATMs, elevators, etc.) there are placards with Braille inscriptions (convex-dotted font); for the deaf and hard of hearing in many institutions and public transport - although not everywhere - there are light boards or a "running" luminous line.

In the 2000s, many laws and bylaws were also adopted regarding the employment of persons with disabilities (including people with intellectual and mental disabilities), benefits for them, and access to inclusive education.


This and much more amazes former Soviet citizens - both tourists and those who have moved to Israel for permanent residence. Especially those who arrived in the 1990s and 2000s, as well as those who did not come from Moscow (where, after Russia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012, there were some improvements in this area). Many such people came to Israel from the former USSR, of whom 160,000 were registered as disabled (nahim) in 2013 (i.e., more than a quarter of all disabled people in the country).11.

If we compare the situation of disabled people in Israel and in Russia, it differs not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively. The impression is made not by how much is done in Israel for the disabled, but by how and for what groups of people with disabilities it is done. For example, in 2005, the Law on Hard-of-Hearing People was adopted; it obliges TV companies to accompany broadcasts with subtitles or sign language translation.12

Here is a typical episode. During my business trip to Israel in the winter of 2012, heavy rocket attacks began on a number of cities in the southern and central parts of the country by the terrorist organization Hamas. And the first thing I heard when I turned on the TV was public indignation that the mayor's office of one of the cities that were shelled did not take care of the deaf, who could not hear the air alarm and go down to the bomb shelter. The next day, these people were given special devices that pick up the sound of sirens and emit a vibration signal.

People with disabilities (regardless of age)

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diseases) in the municipal housing sector, they settle on the first floor, the entrance to the building is usually equipped with a ramp. Special elevators and ramps are provided to educational institutions and their territories where students with disabilities study.

The country also provides comprehensive rehabilitation for people with mental and mental disorders, and they are given access to higher education. Immigrants from the former USSR are particularly struck by the broad support provided at universities in the country for people with learning disabilities (low concentration, poor memory, autism). A variety of assistance is provided even in such" difficult " universities for people with similar problems as the Technion - here, as in other universities, there is a special rehabilitation center for students with learning disabilities . The number of disabled people in this category, as well as people with intellectual and mental disorders, has grown significantly in recent years. Thus, children (under 18 years of age) with mental and mental disorders that led to disability currently account for more than half of all disabled children 13.


Various laws of the State of Israel are designed not only to protect the rights of people with disabilities, but also to make their lives full. However, as a rule, there are not enough budget funds for this, so charities and public organizations come to the aid of the state.

For the first time, the topic of participation of disabled people in various spheres of society was raised in the early 1980s by Aliza Begin. Together with retired judge Tziporah Bron, she created an independent organization (amuta) that brought together about 300 volunteers to help disabled people. 14 Amuta's work has created convenient access conditions for people with disabilities not only to various buildings, but also to a number of tourist attractions, including the Western Wall and many others. In the 1990s, special excursions were organized for Russian-speaking disabled people, including those who were disabled during the Great Patriotic War. Since then, numerous amutot and other organizations have emerged in Israel that lobby for the rights of certain groups of people with disabilities, including fundraising and attracting volunteers.


The main work on socio-cultural adaptation of disabled people is carried out in rehabilitation centers. Here, much attention is paid to various types of rehabilitation, including primary - psychological and domestic - rehabilitation of people with disabilities. This is especially important for those of them who became disabled in adulthood (people with sudden disability) and did not receive special skills and training in childhood. Therefore, these centers are mainly those for whom it is important to get primary rehabilitation: to learn how to navigate in space, move again, including in a wheelchair, with a walker, etc., to serve themselves, to get out of a state of deep depression, to understand the prospects for their employment.

At the end of 2012, I visited such a rehabilitation center for the blind and visually impaired near Haifa. It is called "Migdal Or" (tower of light, lighthouse-Hebrew). Its activities are aimed at rehabilitating people who have lost their sight in adulthood. Many of them came from the CIS countries. They are taught basic skills: to walk correctly with a white cane, pour water, cook, work with sound computer programs, use Braille inscriptions, and so on. This is something that is extremely scarce in Russia.

For example, Svetlana, 36, who came to Israel from the city of Klintsy (Bryansk region), told me about her experience. She became completely blind at the age of 26 as a result of an illness, lost her job and, according to her, stayed at home for a year, because her relatives were afraid to let her go out alone and were embarrassed to go out with her. In the end, Svetlana stated:: "I want to live, not exist" and went to Israel alone, because her husband and parents did not want to go. There, work with her began with domestic rehabilitation: an instructor began to come to her home, teaching her how to light gas, pour boiling water into a cup, how to use an ATM, a computer, etc.

"Everything I can do now is thanks to her. Look, I'm calmly lighting the gas, "Svetlana points out," but I was afraid to go to the stove. How to pour boiling water and not get burned, how to use a knife correctly - all Faith (instructor) she showed me. She taught me how to walk the dog, on and on, calmly, calmly. And now I go everywhere by myself. " 15

Subsequently, Svetlana graduated from the University of Haifa, married a healthy man and gave birth to two children.


At the same time, even in Israel, people with disabilities face numerous problems. First of all, it is a question of employment: it is difficult for a disabled person to find a job, even if they have a good education and a popular specialty. Officially, there is no discrimination in hiring these people. But in practice, the employer is not interested in hiring a disabled person, because it is obliged to create special conditions for him / her - to equip the workplace, provide him / her with transport to and from work, etc. As a result, only 5.4% of employers expressed their willingness to provide jobs for people with disabilities. And only 50% of people with disabilities in the country have a job (compared to 72% of people without disabilities). At the same time, their salary is on average 1,400 shekels * lower per month,

* The exchange rate of the shekel against the ruble at the end of July 2015 was RUB 16.28 per 1 new Israeli shekel -

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than in healthy people. It is not surprising that 51% of working disabled people express dissatisfaction with their income level 16.

Many such people, especially Russian speakers, whose problem is compounded by a language barrier or poor knowledge of Hebrew, have been unable to find any work for years, let alone work in their specialty. I have been repeatedly told about this by people with disabilities themselves, heads of organizations of disabled people, as well as in rehabilitation centers.

Prolonged idleness leads to a loss of motivation to work. If we take into account that the average amount of disability benefits as of December 2013 was NIS 3,900 per month (which is lower than the national average salary, but higher than, say, the old-age allowance, which was then NIS 2,400 per month), this often leads to a certain dependency. According to Mikhail, an employee of the Center for Helping Blind and Visually Impaired Students at the University of Haifa, such people, "poking around here and there, sit for hours on Facebook and other social networks and do nothing else"17. That is, after a number of unsuccessful attempts to find a job, people stop doing it. In Israel, there are about 60,000 young people with disabilities between the ages of 23 and 26 who have never worked or studied. This is 14% of all (not only disabled) people in this age group in the country 18. And every year the chances of employment and successful socialization of such people fall. This is especially true for Russian-speaking immigrants who are over 35 years old.

However, rehabilitation centers have established small workshops or workshops that employ people with disabilities. But the types of work performed there are extremely monotonous, monotonous and very poorly paid. For example, in the Migdal Or rehabilitation center mentioned above, these are the simplest manual operations: wiping components for cell phones with a special liquid, etc.As Migdal Or explained to me, such workshops are created for people who do not strive for anything. This is a kind of analog of similar workshops for disabled people that existed in the USSR in the 1930s and 1950s. (for example, brush manufacturing workshops where visually impaired people worked)19.

Tatiana, the head of the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Haifa, said: "Combining the best Soviet and best Israeli experience in the employment of disabled people could give the best results." Tatiana was referring to the creation of high-income enterprises that employed people with disabilities in the USSR; such enterprises were created in the 1960s and 1970s, had a number of tax benefits and could afford serious social payments to their employees.20

In Israel, people working in the above-mentioned places (including many immigrants from the former USSR) are often either not adapted at all, or poorly adapted. In addition, there are many disabled people among our former compatriots who do not interact at all with rehabilitation centers for people with disabilities.

But even among them there are amazing people who not only found their "niche" in Israel, but also realized their creative potential there. Such is the visually impaired artist Rita Beckman, who came to Israel from Kiev in 1992: she began painting in Ukraine, but began to actively exhibit in Israel 21. Some of the post-Soviet emigrants with disabilities visit organizations for disabled people, which mainly serve as leisure centers: they organize excursions, lectures, meetings with interesting people, etc., which some of them are familiar with from similar "clubs" in the countries of origin.

* * *

So, although Russian-speaking people with disabilities find themselves in more comfortable conditions in Israel than in the countries of origin, they experience considerable difficulties in socio-cultural rehabilitation and integration in the host society. The language barrier, in some cases social passivity and negative stereotypes about disabled people that exist in the mass consciousness, along with the difficulties common to all Israelis, contribute to this.

However, first of all, these difficulties are related to the lack of a clearly oriented State policy for the integration of such people.

1 World Health Organization -

2 World Disability Report-

3 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities-

4 Ibid.

5 aspx

6 People with Disability in Israel. Myer's -JDC - Brookdale Institute. Jerusalem, 2013. P. 7.

7 Ibid. P. 15; см. также: Students with special need in secondary education by type of disability and type of setting, 2012/13 // CBS. Statistical Abstract of Israel 2014.8.33.

8 Ibid. P. 6.

9 Ibid. P. 7. For more information, see: Shemesh A., Nacamulli-Levi D. People with Disabilities in the Community. Ministry of Health, Department of Economy and Health Insurance, Planning Surveys and Evaluation Division. 2009. P. 31.

10 For more information on relevant legislation, see: Ben Moshe E., Roffman L. and Haber Y. People with Disabilities in Israel 2011. Commission on Equal Rights for People with Disabilities, Ministry of Justice, Jerusalem, 2012. p.4; a list of the main laws and amendments thereto is also contained in: People with Disabilities in Israel... P. 5.

11 Persons registered at Social Service Departments by selected characteristics 2013 // CBS. Statistical Abstract of Israel 2014.7.12.

12 People with Disabilities in Israel... P. 5.

13 Students with special need in secondary

education by type of disability and type of setting, 2012/13...

14 Disabled people in Israel: the law protects, society supports odderzhivaet

15 Author's Field materials (hereinafter-PMA), 2012.

16 For more information, see: People with Disabilities in Israel ... P. 11.

17 PMA, 2012.

18 People with Disabilities in Israel... P. 14.

19 See about this: Biryuchkov M. V. Istoriya obshchestvennogo dvizheniya nezyachikh Moskvy [History of the public movement of the Blind in Moscow].

20 PMA, 2012; Biryuchkov M. V. Edict op.

21 PMA, 2012. The works of Rita Beckman can be found here -


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