Although this might be my last climb, maybe because of what I did today the fight against ALS will be accelerated.”
– Felix Shlomovich, mountain climber and ALS victim, following 4 hour scale up the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, 2007
Before the establishment of IsrA.L.S, ALS was not widely known in Israel. But since 2004, IsrA.L.S has made awareness of this disease a top priority among its intensive advocacy efforts. With the IsrA.L.S mandate to educate the public, sensitize the government, and challenge the scientific community, Israel is more knowledgeable and committed to ALS solidarity than ever before.
IsrA.L.S’ greatest mission in the area of public awareness is to guarantee that not one Israeli is left uninformed about this silent and devastating disease.
IsrA.L.S public awareness campaign: By initiating interesting and attractive community events and internet campaigns, IsrA.L.S sends a loud call for action to the Israeli public and a strong message of hope to ALS victims. By expanding the circle of support; by educating social, political, business and academic leaders, ALS is moving beyond the pale of isolation and into the heart of Israeli consciousness.
Among IsrA.L.S public and cultural activities that have thus far attracted media and public attention:
- 3-month “Walking the Land for Those Who Can’t” internet campaign
- Annual “National ALS Awareness Week” and exhibit at Tel Aviv Port
- Internet clip of Stephen Hawking’s 2006 visit to Israel
- Public concerts featuring popular Israeli artists
- Art auctions in cooperation with Sotheby’s
- Special opening event for The Cameri Theater production of “Tuesdays with Morrie”
- An evening honoring 5 Israeli Nobel Prize laureates
With more generous funding the important IsrA.L.S activities that have until now rallied the nation will continue to grow:
Fighting for rights: Institutional bureaucracy in Israel can turn a simple procedure into a prolonged and treacherous process. This can have a devastating impact on ALS victims for whom time is running out. In an effort to alleviate the frustration and indignities resulting from “red tape”, IsrA.L.S has placed the overcoming of bureaucratic hurdles, the gaining of full benefits, and the passing of key legislation to insure patients’ rights as high priorities on its agenda. Additional resources will enable IsrA.L.S to increase current efforts, which include:
- The passing of a bill that will recognize ALS as a chronic and terminal disease, thereby enabling patients to receive additional benefits and services from the Ministry of Health.
- Pursuing the “fast track” which was negotiated with the Ministry of Housing, and allows ALS patients to quickly obtain permits necessary to renovate their homes for improved accessibility.
- Continuing negotiations with the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare, the National Insurance Institute and the national health funds to streamline bureaucracy for ALS patients. This includes informing professionals within these organizations about ALS-related issues and sensitizing them prior to their interactions with the patients.