Friends of AKIM USA


AKIM, founded in 1951, is the national organization caring for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Israel.

Today, AKIM is the largest and most comprehensive provider of programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – regardless of their age, faith, ethnic background or gender – serving 35,000 children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens, as well as their 140,000 family members, throughout Israel.

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A few facts about AKIM Israel:

Hand in hand with 800 volunteers, the 500 devoted workers of AKIM Israel operate:

  • 13 Group Homes providing supervised accommodation for 415 persons with moderate to severe intellectual and developmental disabilities. Three Group Homes are dedicated for the senior population in Israel with severe intellectual disabilities.
  • 48 apartment units (community-based housing) accommodating 4-6 residents each, living independently, with some supervision and support.
  • 4 villas –  (community-based housing) accommodating10-12 residents each, living independently, with some supervision and support.
  • 4 Daycare centers serving 150 adults (age 21 years and older), suffering from severe cognitive disabilities.
  • 3 types of protected work framesproviding employment and several work transition programs to approximately 1,000 adults with minor developmental and intellectual disabilities, in meaningful work in an inclusive setting, throughout Israel.
  • 35 afternoon leisure Clubs offering a variety of afternoon leisure activities for approx. 1,200 persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages, by using and enjoying the same recreation and other leisure activities and facilities, that are available to the general public.
  • Annual “protected” vacation for 1,000 employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities (of all work “frames”), as well as people with severe cognitive disabilities.
  • Summer Camps for 200 children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

With its headquarters in Tel Aviv, AKIM Israel’s organizational structure conducts a variety of national activities as part of AKIM’s “Inclusion” vision to make the Israeli Society “a better place for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their relatives“.

  • Public and Community Advocacy – coordinating activities of 65 branches (staffed with volunteers who are active in 88 towns and cities) throughout Israel, promoting public awareness, self-advocacy & actively supports the full inclusion and participation in the community.
  • Legal Advocacy Leading the struggle  for realizing and utilizing equal legal rights. AKIM’s Legal Department leads the campaign in the courts and in the Knesset for establishing legally binding and equitable standards for the intellectually and developmentally disabled population.
  • Employment opportunities  providing meaningful work and job opportunities in an inclusive setting. A noteworthy example is the “Equal in Uniform” program of Military Service. This highly successful program is a joint venture between AKIM Israel and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
  • Culture, Education, Leisure and Sport activities  operating Cultural activities, mostly stage and plastic art projects, as well as Leisure and Sports activities, include participating in the Paraolympic Games. These activities are the main “tools” of AKIM Israel’s Educational efforts of to promote acceptance.
  • ”Parents for Parents” support line – provides ongoing emotional support and vital information to families with intellectually and developmentally disabled children and adults.
  • Information Center  where information is available to everyone on Intellectual Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Education, Employment, Accessibility, Housing, Inclusion, Health, and Public Advocacy.
  • Guardianship – For 1,500 persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities – regardless of their age, faith, ethnic background or gender, who have been abandoned, orphaned, or taken out of their parent’s custody.
  • 10 afterschool facilities accros the country, serving from 2PM to 6PM serving more then 300 young people, ages 3 to 21, with intellectual disabilities, permitting their parents to work and sustain their families.

What's New at AKIM

Yossi Zvi, was elected as the new chairman of Friends of Akim Israel. Zvi has been in senior management positions in the business sector for the past 30 years and has headed a real estate and mall management company in recent years. “When I was asked to accept the position, I did not hesitate. I felt that now was my time to contribute and allow people to live a better life, “said Yossi Zvi at the meeting.
In 2020 Akim opened 7 new apartments in the community: in Kfar Saba, Karmiel, Yavne, and Rehovot.
AKIM Israel serves as guardian for more than 1,500 persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, regardless of their faith, ethnic background, age or sex
Rabbi Dr. Benyamin (Benny) Lau, who was elected on Sunday, June 20th, 2021, to be the new Chairman of Akim Israel, unanimously by the organization’s General Assembly members. Rabbi Benny Lau will serve as Chairman of Akim in place of Admiral (R) Ami Ayalon, who served in the position for 11 years, years in which he led significant processes in the organization, from establishing it as a human-focused organization, working to hear the voices of people with intellectual disabilities and to lead actions of the policy change and assimilation of positive attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities and their inclusion into Israeli society.