Inclusivity is taking priority in Israel, thanks to inspiration from the musician Yitzchak Perlman’s Genesis Prize. Since being named the 2016 winner, Perlman has taken massive steps to create more inclusive opportunities for people who are disabled across Israel.
One project is a brand new town near Beer Sheba called Daniel, which will be all inclusive, with full accessibility, and respect for the needs of those with disabilities. As a collaboration between ALEH, a nonprofit organization supporting disabled children, the Construction and Housing Ministry and the southern municipal council in Merhavim, the town will also serve as a rehabilitation village, placing people with disabilities at the forefront. From new employment opportunities to affordable housing options, Daniel will aim to be a Utopian idea of what an inclusive and equal society of people can be.
Other conscious efforts to inspire inclusivity have been made from the Finance Ministry, Israel Innovation Authority and National Insurance Institute, who are supporting transformative technologies. About NIS 6 million have been granted to 13 Israeli companies who aim to improve and ease the lives of the disabled, and support a more independent lifestyle. Some of the current technologies include Sesame Enable, a handsfree smart phone, and SendPD, a post-birth ear monitoring device to detect autism early on. Other grants from the Genesis Prize support Israel Audiobooks for children with learning disabilities, and entertainment shows to integrate all into local social and cultural scenes.
While assistive technologies are growing, they might not necessarily provide the largest ROI for funders, and so are not as attractive to the average wolf of Wall street. However, by creating technologies and projects to create productive, independent lifestyles is valuable beyond belief for the individuals, their family, and for the economy as a whole.