Deaf in Israel

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

We capitalize Deaf for those who are born without hearing. They face special challenges for responding to the gospel, especially in predominantly unreached parts of the world like Israel. Never being able to hear has isolated them socially and added additional hurdles to responding to the gospel.
The Association of the Deaf in Israel (ADI) was established to advance the welfare of the Deaf in Israel, as well as to advocate for Deaf rights. There are a number of schools (ulpan) for the Deaf that offer a variety of services and programs to help both Deaf adults and children. Their programs include classes in Hebrew and Israeli Sign language. Some interpreters have the skills to use sign language from other countries such as Russia or the United State due to the diverse cultural population of Jewish people in Israel. The schools have gradually developed methods and tools to assist the Deaf in effective ways of communication, so they do not feel isolated. Other important parts of their curriculum include vocational guidance and extracurricular activities such as art. Medical advancement in the area of cochlear implants are available to the deaf which allows them to hear sounds better.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Deaf in Israel are officially equal to others by law. They have access to higher education; however, they must receive permission from the Ministry of Health in order to advance in education. Many feel frustrated as they often are not accepted in jobs they strive to obtain. The Deaf must check with the rabbi before being allowed to marry. Many Deaf Israeli's do not attend Sabbath services in the synagogues as an interpreter is not available to give the message in sign language.
Yehoshua Soudakoff is a Rabbi living in Israel who has been Deaf from birth. He has dedicated his life to meeting one of the greatest needs for Deaf Israelis. He is translating the 24 books of the Tanakh (which includes the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings of the Old Testament) into visual format through sign language, He is working with a team orthodox, and they estimate it may take up to 15 years to complete. (An estimated 400 sign languages exist in the world today, and not one has a full Bible translated yet). Responses to their work have been very encouraging from many Deaf people living in Israel and beyond. They feel a closeness to God that they never had before. They no longer feel left out in their Orthodox synagogue.
Rabbi Soudakoff is also in charge of an international summer camp for deaf and hard of hearing children. The campers come from all over the world and the counselors themselves are deaf. The counselors show how much they can do in controlling their lives. The children realize they can have a full and happy life without being socially isolated.
Another important and encouraging help for the Deaf in Israel is being accomplished through a deaf woman named Pinto. She was the first deaf person to be elected to Israel's parliament. Pinto is determined to make changes to help the Deaf and other people with disabilities with their special needs. She hopes to help them with issues of isolation, restrictions and acceptance.
Many of the Deaf in Israel tend to live in the larger cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv where their schools are located. They often group together for support and social communication.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most of the Israeli Deaf people are Jewish by culture and birth. Their difficulty in understanding the biblical text due to their deafness has limited their ability to grow spiritually, come close to God and understand his promises. Many will join others during Jewish feasts days such as Passover, Yom Kippur or Chanukah.

What Are Their Needs?

The Deaf in Israel need to know God's word through Israeli/Hebrew sign language and reading. This will give them a lasting relationship with him so they will be guided, comforted and grow spiritually. There is a need for more interpreters for the Deaf in synagogues and churches. Christians and Messianic believers in Israel need to be aware of the challenges Deaf people face so they can befriend them and open relational doors to the Messiah.

Prayer Points

Pray the vital need of developing the Bible in Israeli and Hebrew sign language will advance with haste and efficiency.
Pray the community of believers in Israel will learn how to communicate with the Israeli Deaf through sign language and friendships.
Pray the Israeli Deaf will no longer be separated from God and the only Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Pray the government of Israel will allow more legislation to pass that will make life for the Deaf in Israel easier and allow them opportunities to live full lives.
Pray that hearing family members of Israeli Deaf will learn skills in communicating with Deaf members of their families.

Scripture Prayers for the Deaf in Israel.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Deaf
People Name in Country Deaf
Pronunciation def
Alternate Names
Population this Country 19,000
Population all Countries 50,266,000
Total Countries 216
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 19007
ROP3 Code 114916
ROP25 Code 301989
ROP25 Name Deaf
Country Israel
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Israel
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
2.04 %
Ethnic Religions
75.40 %
0.00 %
16.70 %
3.81 %
Other / Small
2.05 %
0.00 %

Primary Language:  Israeli Sign Language

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2020)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
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National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Rodasmith - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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