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Israel's handicapped: Less educated, lonelier

December 4, 2006. Ynet: Miri Chason
New research shows disabled persons marginalized in Israeli society, fewer than a third employed, more than a third without complete high school education

A new study, published on the international day for the handicapped, indicates large discrepancies between handicapped and non-handicapped Israelis, both in professional and education aspects.

The study indicates that 37 percent of handicapped respondents completed less than 12 years of school, compared to 13 percent among the general population.

Only 29 percent of Israel's handicapped are represented in the workplace, compared to 66 percent among the rest of the population.

Professor Arie Rimmerman, Haifa University's Richard Crossman Chair for Social Welfare and Planning, explained that two third of all disabled persons are labeled as generally handicapped - in other words, born disabled – with the remaining third disabled as a result of accidents or IDF service.

"Among the generally handicapped, there is a lower rate of education, as a result of learning at special schools or from various problems making it difficult for them to study, thus they are less educated and have fewer work opportunities," he said.

"In general, people who are less educated tend to be less socially involved, unemployed and lacking in a cohesive social circle," he added.

However, an additional finding showed no discrepancy in their arrival at places of worship. "Disabled persons feel less different (in synagogues, churches and mosques), as opposed to other public places such as the theater or even a friend's house," Rimmerman stated.

The objective of the 1998 law for equality for disabled persons is to protect the civil liberties and human dignity of the handicapped, and defend their right to participate equally in society, in all aspects.

The research showed that the reality in Israel in 2006 is still far from true implementation of this objective.

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