The State of Israel maintains a mandatory military draft for all (Jewish) men and women at age 18, however it waives this obligation for religious Jewish girls and married women, and individuals on the basis of health, emotional difficulties, or personal/functional limitations. For many young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities this waiver is given despite their wish to enlist in the IDF and serve their country. The rejection is frustrating and disappointing, and further decreases their chances of integrating into mainstream society and the job market in the future.
Integrating disabled individuals into Israel society by transforming them from “takers” into “givers.”
Fostering change in society’s attitude towards those who are “different” to one of acceptance and equality.
The Mishlavim project is conducted nationally enabling 240 young men and women with disabilities who received waivers from the Israel Defense Forces to serve in normative sherut leumi settings in a variety of roles. Each program participant volunteers for a full year in a range of frameworks that provide health, social, educational and public administration services. Specifically, sherut leumi placements include preschools, schools, hospitals, homes for the aged, services for special needs children, and a variety of non-profit organizations and government offices serving the public.
The volunteers assume tasks including office work of varying levels of complexity, assisting caregiving staff, childcare, animal-assisted therapy, receptionists in organizations and government agencies, working in warehouses, gardening, repairing and maintenance of equipment in a variety of settings, courier services, and more. We encourage participants to select the volunteer setting that best matches their aspirations and abilities
The G’vanim organization, the Authority for National Civilian Volunteer Service, the Ministry of Social Services, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of health, the Hizdamnut Fund, the Gruss Foundation, the Kivunum organization, Elwyn Israel, the Fund for Special Projects of the National Insurance Institute, the Department for Rehabilitation of the National Insurance Institute, and the Jerusalem Municipal Unit for Sherut Leumi.
“Everyone – the general public, parents, and the daycare workers – when they learn that Ruthie is a National Service [Sherut Leumi] volunteer in a daycare center undergo a paradigm change in thinking, and their preconceived ideas about people with special needs are replaced by openness, acceptance, and respect for individuals with special needs,whom they now see as integral members of society.”