The end of the R word in Israel

Significant Milestone

Lin Kornhauser (right) celebrates her medal win at the World Summer Games in Athens 2011. This image won first prize in a Sport & Peace Photographic Competition

Following many years of lobbying by a devoted mother of a Special Olympics athlete, Tali Kornhauser, and Special Olympics Israel the term ‘people with intellectual disabilities’ has finally replaced the term ‘people with retardation’ in Israel. The R word will no longer be acceptable or tolerated in Israel when talking about people with intellectual disabilities.  Making the significant announcement this week, the Minister for Welfare Moshe Kahlon said the change in language was long overdue and reflects what should be paramount for all people with intellectual disabilities – respect and dignity.  He thanked Special Olympics Israel for its relentless pursuit of this issue and stated he was proud to be able to officially announce the language change.

Lin Kornhauser from Raanana is an athlete with Special Olympics Israel and has won several medals for her country at World and National Games. Her mother Tali was the leading campaigner behind the term change. “My daughter is not retarded, she has achieved more than most and I am delighted the Minister has made this announcement. It is hugely important to my family and for all people with intellectual disabilities and their families."

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