November 30, 2023

The Ministry of Education only has information on three-quarters of evacuated children, according to the Knesset Health Committee and the Knesset Education, Culture, and Sports Committee. Protecting special-education institutions was a priority, Health Committee chairman Yonatan Mishraki and Education, Culture, and Sports Committee chairman Yosef Taieb said. They expressed a joint concern for the well-being of the vulnerable members of society. During a tour organized by his committee, Taieb emphasized the challenges of shutting down the entire education system and protecting and recruiting manpower for special education in particular. They also called on the Education Ministry to hire recently discharged soldiers to work with children of evacuees and special-needs youths.

Tami Umansky, director of the special-education division at the Education Ministry, reported that 75% of the evacuated pupils, their temporary addresses, and the education systems that “adopted” them were registered on computers, but the data was only partial due to parents refusing to provide details or the children moving from place to place. Anat Greifner, a representative of the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry, raised concerns about the lack of protection against rockets and missiles in some rehabilitation daycare centers for special education.

Furthermore, the authorities do not have complete and accurate information on the number of children with disabilities in Israel who were evacuated from their homes. The Justice Ministry hotline has received public inquiries related to the war, including the lack of protected spaces in places of residence, the integration of children with disabilities in educational institutions, and the adaptation of alternative educational institutions.

Shas MK Erez Malul cited the State Comptroller’s Report regarding failures in the special-education system, especially the lack of transportation, a dedicated budget for caregivers, and the lack of shelters. Revital Len-Cohen of the Coalition of Parents for Children with Special Needs also raised concerns about children who have not yet completed their diagnosis due to a lack of documents and requested an interim year in which each child’s eligibility for aid would not be determined by their diagnosis.