NEW YORK (JTA) — Israel Unlimited Partnership, a joint initiative that helps the disabled, has received $12.5 million to expand the scope of its operations.
The latest commitment came from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which said Monday that it would match the Ruderman Family Foundation’s $4 million donation to the group. The Israeli government will provide the rest of the funds.
The group is a joint initiative of the Israeli government, the Ruderman foundation and the JDC.
“We want Israel to be second to none in its inclusion of people with disabilities throughout society," said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Our strategic effort has enabled the implementation of nationwide change through innovative programs that ensure, above all, that people with disabilities are full members of Israel’s national tapestry."
Founded in 2009, the Israel Unlimited Partnership provides transportation and care to thousands of physically impaired Israelis including Arabs and immigrants, as well as curbing violence against the disabled.
With its new funding, the initiative plans to reach out to disabled members of the haredi Orthodox community, integrate the disabled into the workforce and engage in a public campaign to raise awareness to their rights.
There are about 700,000 disabled adults in Israel, according to the JDC. Nearly 20 percent of them have moderate to severe disabilities. Approximately 52 percent of disabled Israelis are employed, compared to 74 percent of the general population. On average, disabled Israelis earn approximately $580 less per month than the general population.
"I would like to commend the partnership for people with disabilities between the Welfare Ministry, JDC and the Ruderman Family Foundation," said Moshe Kahlon, Israel’s minister of welfare and social services. "This partnership promotes their status and develops services to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in society."