The government has undertaken two important steps to help disabled Israelis find employment and housing.
Last week, an ministerial committee chose a consortium of three firms to establish the first employment center for disabled Israelis. The program, said members of the tender committee, “will be a significant step along the path to implement government targets to include people with disabilities in the labor market.”
In addition, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation last week sent to the Knesset a new law that would prohibit banks from denying mortgages to individuals with significant disabilities, among them victims of diseases such as ALS and autism.
The employment center will be operated by three partner companies: Eshnav, Maof Human Resources, and Shel Rehabilitation Projects. Together, the group is expected to serve around 3,000 participants over the next two years, providing them with counseling and assistance in finding training courses, writing resumes, honing their interview skills, and helping them to adjust to the workplace. The center will also seek out jobs for trainees and provide them with ongoing counseling so they can thrive on the job.
Meanwhile, the government approved for legislation a bill proposed by MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) that would help the disabled to spend the money they earn at their new jobs. According to Elharar, banks have in the past made it difficult for individuals with severe handicaps to get mortgages because they cannot get the life insurance that would ensure that the bank gets paid back in the event of the death of the mortgage-holder.
The denial of mortgages is unconnected to the applicant’s financial situation or net worth. Elharar’s law would prohibit banks from denying mortgages to disabled individuals if they fit all the criteria for a loan except for having a life insurance policy. Under the law, banks will either have to provide insurance to such applicants on their own, or dismiss the requirement for a policy.
In a letter attached to the proposal, Elharar wrote that “banking conglomerates demand insurance policies from individuals who take out mortgages, but insurance companies often refuse to insure individuals with certain disabilities. I am pleased that the Ministerial Committee for Legislation has chosen to affirm the idea of equality for all and recognize the right of all Israelis to housing.”