On December 3rd, millions around the world will mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities and commit to protecting and enhancing the rights of those with disabilities and special needs. Ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Israel MFA is proud to host the 3rd Diplomatic Race on Sunday, November 11, and partner with Shalva, a revolutionary Israeli organization dedicated to providing transformative care and support for individuals with disabilities and their families.
The Israel Diplomatic Run brings together more than 450 members of Israel's diplomatic community, including foreign diplomats serving in Israel, foreign journalists, and members of the Israel MFA. Featuring two routes, a challenging 10 km route for runners and a shorter 4km route for walkers, the race replaces office scenery with Jerusalem's breathtaking backdrop, creating a unique opportunity for Israel's diplomatic community to come together and celebrate diplomacy.
This year's race which will take place just weeks before International Day of Persons of Disabilities, will also raise awareness for the protection and advancement of rights for those with disabilities, by partnering with Shalva, a world-renowned Israeli organization which services the special needs community. Shalva provides educational, medical, and mental support to more than 2,000 individuals with disabilities from infancy to adulthood and their families. 28 Shalva members will participate in this year's race, sharing the Israel MFA's message of inclusivity and acceptance with the larger diplomatic community.
Israel, home to more than 1.6 million people with disabilities, is a world leader in advocating for a more equal and tolerance society for those with disabilities. As a member of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Group of Friends of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva, Israel has played a particularly active role in helping raise awareness for those with disabilities, specifically through a number of important events and initiatives at the United Nations. In December of 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted a special breakfast at the UN office in Geneva in honor of International Day of People with Disabilities. The breakfast discussed ways in which technologies are impacting the lives of those with disabilities.
Most recently, Israeli youth organization, Krembo Wings was named Special Advisor to the United Nations' Economic and Social council, for its role in creating a more inclusive and tolerant society. The youth group which has more than 6,000 members and 35 chapters across Israel, brings together those with and without disabilities through weekly social activities, leadership training, and educational programming.
Israel's commitment to protecting the rights of those with disabilities, influences all aspects of Israeli society. From incredible technological inventions such as re-walk, which enables people with spinal cord injuries to walk upright again, to "Special in Uniform", a unique project which helps those with special needs enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, to important legislation like the "Digital Accessibility Act" which requires all Israeli websites and applications to provide information in accessible formats, Israel is proud to advocate on behalf of those with disabilities and will continue to work to advance equality and tolerance on a global scale.