Resilience in Emergencies in Families with a Person with Disability

Like any other person, persons with disabilities are affected by and affect in turn their families. Therefore, the families share in their experiences of the systemic, social and personal consequences of their disabilities. The family’s ability to cope with these effects depends on family resilience: the family’s ability to withstand the challenges of life. Each family has a set of resources and strengths that enable it to cope successfully with crises or ongoing challenges, to recover from and grow out of them.

Family resilience may be likened to a weighing scale, with the challenges persons with disabilities and their families cope with on one plate, and tools and practices that help them in their coping on the other. The goal is for the tools plate to outweigh the challenges plate, and this can be achieved by developing and cultivating family resilience throughout life. Emergencies immediately cut short the sense of continuity and disrupt the family balance. These situations may wear down or undermine the resilience built by the family in daily life, but the process of adjustment and coping can also empower each family member, enhance their relationships, and strengthen family resilience in the future.

This document describes the needs of families with a person with disability, as they have arisen since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, their challenges, and the interventions provided to them over the first six months of the war (October 2023-April 2024), to help them cope with the erosion of family resilience, in six resilience areas. The document also outlines keys for success that facilitate the provision of the emergency interventions, and offers recommendations in order to continue developing and optimizing interventions designed for families with a person with a disability, in other emergencies and in routine.

This document is based on information collected in seventeen interviews with representatives of the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education; professionals, including representatives of civil society organizations in the disability area, educators dealing with this area and welfare officials; and family members of persons with disabilities. It is also informed by a focus group of family members. The document is also based on data provided to the researchers by representatives of ministries and civil society organizations, as well as data collected by the researchers from official documents published mostly after the outbreak of the war. Finally, the document is based on information provided in public discussions and conferences held during the period in question.

For MJB’s publications on Israel-Hamas War in English, press here.

For MJB’s publications on Israel-Hamas War in Hebrew, press here.

Citing suggestion: Nagar-Eidelman, E., Guedj, N., & Barlev, L. (2024). Resilience in Emergencies in Families with a Person with Disability. S-232-24. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)