Ms. Noa Furman
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, allow me to congratulate you on your election as Chair.
The principles of social development stand at the heart of Israeli law, culture, and public policy. We firmly believe that social development strategies must be comprehensive and inclusive. Government must work with the private sector and NGOs to fully integrate all people into society. We must guarantee everyone's rights and provide all with the opportunities to contribute to society according to their abilities.
Israel is dedicated to all the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which in paragraph 25, states that: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care, and necessary social services”.
From its establishment, Israel has partnered with others to advance these important principles not just for Israelis, but for people all over the world. We have used our technical expertise in agriculture, health, technology and other areas to alleviate global suffering and poverty.
MASHAV – Israel’s Center for International Cooperation – leads these efforts. MASHAV was born out of the idea that global collaboration can advance social equity and sustainable development. The organization places great focus on education – and has trained more than 250,000 people from 140 countries.
Education is a primary tool for development. It is a cornerstone for international progress, social equity, and ultimately, poverty eradication.
We invest greatly in education both at home and abroad. In 2012, the Israeli government oversaw a landmark expansion of our educational system, giving every child the right to a free education from the age of three.
Last month, we witnessed an important event in Israel. My country ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The ratification of the convention is an important step toward realizing the Millennium Development Goals for persons with disabilities in Israel. It marks another turning point in Israel’s longstanding efforts to fully integrate our 1.5 million citizens with disabilities.
In 1998, the Israeli Parliament enacted the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Law. It prevents discrimination in all areas, mandating that all public buildings and services are accessible for persons with disabilities. The law established the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the Ministry of Justice. This Commission works to prevent discrimination and promote the full integration of persons with disabilities.
A wide range of Israeli law protects our citizens with disabilities. Much of it is very innovative. For example, a recent law provides special procedural accommodations for persons with disabilities who suffered from violence and abuse, ensuring that they have full access to justice.
Our commitment to supporting persons with disabilities was reflected this year in our large delegation to the Paralympic Games in London. Israel’s delegation of 25 athletes took home 8 medals in this competition.
The Secretary-General’s report on the realization of the MDGs for persons with disabilities (A/67/211) makes an important observation. It notes that disability is not included in neither the Millennium Development Goals nor in their operationalizing targets and indicators.
As discussions regarding the post-2015 agenda gain momentum, the international community has an important opportunity to ensure that disability is included in the emerging global development agenda. The high-level meeting that will be convened in September 2013 will offer a unique forum for an action-oriented discussion on including disability for the future global development agenda. Israel looks forward to participating in this event.
We will continue to partner with the international community to advance development for persons with disabilities. In doing so, we draw inspiration from Moses, one of the Jewish people’s greatest leaders. He managed to lead the nation of Israel from slavery to freedom despite having a speech impediment. We strive for a world in which all people with disabilities will be able to realize their full human and leadership potential, just like Moses, for the benefit of our societies.