A Blind Man Looking Deeper

Abbass and Al-Manarah provide blind Israeli Arab youth with hope and guidance, a sense of community and a path for personal and social change.
Abbass and Al-Manarah provide blind Israeli Arab youth with hope and guidance, a sense of community and a path for personal and social change.

What would it be like to be a minority within a minority in Israel? Abbass Abbass, a legally blind Israeli Arab, knows firsthand—but he prefers to characterize himself as a person with unique abilities rather than “disabled.” And that perspective and indefatigable spirit led him to found Al-Manarah (Lighthouse) Association to improve the lives Arabs with disabilities in Israel.

A lawyer and social entrepreneur, Abbass is transforming a society by changing the way Israeli Arabs view people with disabilities. For members of this marginalized community within a marginalized community, Al-Manarah provides hope and guidance, a sense of community, and a path for personal and social change—and it is the go to address for Arab persons with disabilities in Israel today.

Through a powerful combination of advocacy, education, and empowerment, Abbass is changing the way in which members of the Arab society in Israel view persons with disabilities. His philosophy of empowerment is the bedrock of his organization: “Rather than take life easy, I have to be the best, to excel, to stand out. ... For a blind person to stand out, he must be the best.”

Come hear advocate Abbass Abbass speak tonight at JDC NextGen and Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues joint event, Looking Deeper: Inside the Israeli Arab Community. KUSH, New York, at 7 pm.

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