'Israel Has Come a Long Way in Treating Disabled'

Beit Issie Shapiro holds International Conference on Disabilities.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Jean Judes, Executive Director of Beit Issie Shapiro
Jean Judes, Executive Director of Beit Issie Shapiro
Yoni Kempinski

Beit Issie Shapiro is holding this week its 6th International Conference on Disabilities, which is being held in Tel Aviv and focuses on “Unity and Diversity in Action.”

Since 1994, Beit Issie Shapiro’s International Conference on Disabilities has been taking place every four years. The event is a unique opportunity for academic, medical and community professionals, researchers, policy makers, service providers, people with disabilities, and family members, to meet with colleagues from around the world and take part in the latest state-of-the-art knowledge, research and practice in the field of disabilities.

Jean Judes, Executive Director of Beit Issie Shapiro, spoke with Arutz Sheva during the conference, noting that while the world has evolved in terms of the attitude towards the disabled, the world in general, and specifically Israel, has lots that still needs to be improved.

“We have people from 22 different countries, and everyone has what to teach and everyone has what to learn. That’s what this is all about,” said Judes.

The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities was “a real milestone in the history of disabilities,” she said, “because all the countries together decided that there has to be a minimal safety net for all people in society, and it got all the countries together to start talking about what it means to have equal rights and how do you make that happen.”

Israel, said Judes, has come a long way over the years when it comes to dealing with people with disabilities “but we still have a long way to go. There’s a lot of prejudice, a lot of stigma. There’s less than there used to be, there are good laws in place in Israel. There are good services but I still believe that there is a lot of prejudice towards people with disabilities.”

At the same time, she added, “When I do go to the United Nations I see that we’re very advanced in some ways, especially in our health system. I suppose everything’s in perspective. I think that we’re very advanced compared to some countries but we’re behind other ones.”