In this instance, it was the Huffington Post on January 24, 2016 with a piece ["How Developmentally Disabled Adults Are Transforming Criminals in Israel"] that had originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post six months earlier [here].
It hailed Aleh Negev's "one-of-a-kind program... to help rehabilitate nonviolent inmates by having them volunteer with developmentally disabled adults residing in the rehabilitation village in the Negev." (I wrote about that in a previous post.)
It goes on: "The goal is to give these prisoners during their jail time a set of tools to help them when they return to society and a new perspective on life,” explained Orna Ben-Tal, who helps direct the program in the South."
It is baffling that the Huffington Post would promote a program that - everyone concedes - does not exist anywhere else in the world and benefits convicted criminals on the backs of individuals with disabilities.
The conundrum deepens in light of the fact that only a two months earlier, the Huffington Post published [here] a piece lauding J.K. Rowling and her determination to end institutionalization throughout the world.
Harry Potter author and Lumos founder J.K. Rowling reflected recently about a visit to an orphanage 10 years ago: “I was shown into a room full of totally silent babies. They had learned that crying brought no comfort and their lack of interest in eye contact was eerie. The photographer wanted me to smile; I wanted to cry.”One can only scratch one's head when champions of inclusion and equality for people with disabilities swallow Aleh's gobbledy gook.
Soon after, J.K. Rowling launched Lumos as an international non-profit organization to bring an end to child institutionalism worldwide by 2050. Lumos works with governments to strengthen families and build community services, such as inclusive education, health care and social services that help vulnerable families to stay together.
Just last week we learned of another such dupe, Nina Paul of Cincinnati, Ohio, the national president of Jewish National Fund’s Women for Israel (WFI) campaign since October 2015.
Here [link] is what she thought of Aleh:
As it turns out, inclusion is a highly personal cause for Paul, whose son Max had a rare brain tumor removed at age 8 and has gone on to live with behavioral issues. Paul also grew up with a brother who was born with brain damage. After moving Max in and out of various facilities around the country, Paul says she realized there was “no magic bullet out there” for him. He has now lived at home for eight and a half years and benefits from constant two-on-one professional care.Why on earth a mother who has chosen to raise her disabled child at home and advocates actively for inclusion would cry for joy at the sight of Aleh Negev is anyone's guess. An institution remote and distant from any broader community and from the residents' families is the last solution you'd expect such a woman to laud.
What Paul says she wishes Max had earlier in his life was a facility like Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran, a rehabilitation village and JNF partner organization that serves people with severe disabilities in southern Israel.
“When I came to Aleh Negev, and I saw this facility, the beauty of the place and the wonderful people and therapies they offer, I just started to cry, because I said, ‘My God, had we had this kind of a facility in the [United] States when I was searching…it would have made a huge difference [for Max].’ And that’s when I said, ‘OK, this is where my heart is in the work I do with JNF,’” she says.
I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. It's fair to presume that her tour of that institution - let's call a spade a spade; that is what it is, not a facility and not a village - was brief and selective. She probably wasn't told by her guides that young children, even babies, are taken from their parents and siblings to live out their lives in that large institution. Her guides probably didn't share with her either that millions of government dollars are poured into Aleh coffers while parents who choose to love and care for their impaired children at home must struggle with pittance.
Two crying women inspecting institutions for children with disabilities. But tears of two very different sorts. I know which sort well up in my eyes every time I am subjected to Aleh propaganda. How about you?