Four of Israel’s five major TV production companies commit to auditioning actors with disabilities

December 21, 2021 by TPS
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Four of Israel’s five major television broadcasting and production companies have signed a new pledge, spearheaded by the Ruderman Family Foundation, to audition actors with disabilities with each new studio production.

The Israeli Broadcasting Authority in Jerusalem. Jerusalem Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS

In the pledge, which the Foundation initiated in collaboration with the Gesher Multicultural Film Fund and the Israeli Directors Guild, KAN, RESHET, HOT and YES have also committed to a more inclusive selection process for all jobs across the film industry, on and off-screen.

The pledge is a continuation of a similar one the Foundation circulated in Hollywood which brought CBS Entertainment, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment together in the commitment of promoting more inclusive and authentic representation in the American film industry.

The four companies came together for an event the Foundation hosted, celebrating their pledge as well as their broader commitment to fostering authentic representation in the Israeli entertainment industry.

A recent poll commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation, the Gesher Multicultural Film Fund and the Israeli Directors Guild found that 70% of Israelis consider the authentic representation of people with disabilities in entertainment to be an important issue, with 91% of respondents reporting that they would be less willing to watch a film or show if the production’s casting practices are not inclusive.

The survey, conducted by IPANEL, also found that 71% of Israelis feel that the authentic representation of people with disabilities is “very low to nonexistent” in Israel’s film industry.

“Even though in the last year more authentic representation of actors with disabilities can be seen on screen in Israel, most productions remain inaccessible, and many actors as well as off-screen professionals give up in advance on their dreams of acting and working in the industry,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Therefore, it is extremely encouraging to see four of Israel’s major production companies make this commitment to bringing about a more inclusive film industry that offers far more opportunities to people with disabilities. These companies have now become powerful changemakers by affirming that they will no longer tolerate discriminatory practices in their midst.”

Ziv Naveh, CEO & Artistic Director of the Gesher Multicultural Film Fund, which specializes in promoting filmmakers the integration of people with disabilities in the industry said that the “campaign is a call for awakening and action. There are talented people who have become transparent despite their abilities and skills. As part of an industry that creates content for the screen, we are well placed to influence and make a change. The small effort required of us, will yield great benefit not only to the community of people with disabilities but to Israeli society as a whole.”

TPS

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