About us

Watch our video about the Purple Operation Room – Helping Israelis with disabilities during the swords of iron war


Our story
The founder of “Shavvim” (equal, in Hebrew) organization, Idan Motola, has two great loves. His first love, like every father, are his children, Ohad (17.5) and Libby (15.5). Ohad was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.5, and to date he studies in a regular high school in Hod Hasharon, he sings in the school’s choir and he faces great challenges, like any child on the spectrum. Idan’s second love is journalism, in which he has been engaged for 25 years. Idan was an editor at “The Marker” website, correspondents’ coordinator of “Yedioth Ahronoth”, an editor of the economic supplement “Mamon”, and also an editor of “The Morning News” on channel 12. In founding Shavvim, Idan was able to merge his two loves into a most inspiring enterprise. Three years ago, Idan, together with media person Yaron Frost, decided to harness the power of the media for the benefit of the community of people with disabilities in Israel. In other words, they decided that it was about time to give a voice to the 1.5 million Israeli residents with disabilities and their families, whose voices are hardly heard. These include all types of disabilities: physical, cognitive, communicative and mental. The aim is that all of them will see Shavvim as their journalistic home.

Shavvim’s Vision: to help and promote people with disabilities in Israel by means of the media

Shavvim’s Goals

To Provide vital news information to people with disabilities and their families

To expose barriers and injustices faced by people with disabilities and to promote solutions thereto

To encourage policy makers to improve the welfare and well-being of people with disabilities

To increase the number of people with disabilities who work in the media and maximize their impact

To empower people with disabilities through platform that meets their skills, and enhances their successes


Shavvim website

To implement its vision and objectives, the organization founded and runs a news website under the name of Shavvim, which covers the lives of people with disabilities in Israel, including the barriers and injustices they face daily. The website also assists in impacting decision-makers to advance solutions for the good of this community. In the course of 2021, there were some 1.2 million entrances to the website and tens of follow-ups by major media outlets. In the course of its first three years, Shavvim’s accomplishments and impact have been increasingly growing. Most of the website’s content is written by people with disabilities who are trained by Shavvim as correspondents and are fully paid. Thus, we enable them to voice their own plights and successes by themselves.


A series of articles that led to releasing the closure of hostels of people with disabilities for visits of families and friends, by the Ministry of Welfare, during Covid-19 (a time when the quarantine of the Israeli society was no longer in effect)

The Ministry of Education cancelled the decision to reduce support hours for special education children

Exposing the story of Shiran Amsili, an Israeli decorated soldier who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has found himself in financial distress; as a result, a sum of NIS 1.7 million was raised by the public to purchase an apartment for him

Exposing the shocking attack of Tzvika Sudri, a person with Down syndrome, in a grocery store in Kfar Saba

Our Media Courses

Shavvim, together with Mifal Hapayis (Israel’s state lottery), also runs professional media training for people with disabilities and helps them integrate as employees in this industry. Last year, we ran a course for them in journalism and public relations, in collaboration with “Yedioth Ahronot”, the most popular newspaper in Israel, and its website Ynet. This year, together with The Israeli National Insurance Funds, we are expanding this activity by running four courses: Journalism, public relations, the spokesperson profession, digital marketing and TV. These courses are run in collaboration with “Yedioth-Ynet”, Reshet 13 (a major Israeli TV channel) and Gitam BBDO (leading advertising and marketing company).

Graduates of the first journalism course. photograph: Yariv Katz, “Yedioth Ahronot”

Purple Night

The “Purple Night” project came about following a conversation with Prof. David Gracon, a lawyer who specializes in corporate responsibility and rights of people with disabilities. A few years ago, Prof. Gracon told us about a project of the “Purple Space” organization in Britain. In order to raise awareness of the pubic to people with disabilities, as an integral part of society, in 2017, this organization started lighting structures and buildings around the world in purple (a color identified with people with disabilities), to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), celebrated every year on December 3rd.

Excited by this idea, we decided to adopt it. In 2020, together with Mifa’al Hapais, we inaugurated the Purple Night in Israel, lighting 110 public buildings, among them the mansion of Israel’s President, the Santiago Calatrava Cords Bridge in Jerusalem, the Reading Power Station in Tel Aviv, and more. Concurrently, we contacted the company operating the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which generously acquiesced to lit in purple the highest skyscraper in the world. The project received extensive coverage in the Israeli media. In 2021, we have already lit 150 buildings in Israel as well as a number of Israeli embassies around the world.

Every year we highlight a specific topic for the project. Last year, Purple Night was held as a call to employers, to open their doors before workers with disabilities. In December 2022, the Purple Night will be dedicated to “integration of people with disabilities in society, in their communities and at work.” Since December 3rd falls on Saturday night, the event in Israel will be held on December 1st, namely two days earlier.

Calatrava Cords Bridge in Jerusalem on “Purple Night”. photograph: Shavvim

Our writers

Ruthie Zoaretz

A 48-year-old journalist, writer and a poet from Haifa. Bravely struggling with anorexia

Eyal Shahal

Autistic and an activist, a 21-year-old student, poet and painter from Tel-Aviv, who uses a keyboard to express himself

Jenny Belo

Content manager with a visual disability. A mother of two from Holon, who wrote before she could even talk

Guy Vaknin

Born in 1998 with weakness in the left side of the body. Has been writing series since the age of 14. Plays competitive wheelchair tennis.

Batel Mor

Content maker and producer from Petah-Tikva. Diagnosed with a visual disability and writes in big fonts

Lee Gay-ron

A 28-year-old dancer from Tel-Aviv on the autistic spectrum. Doesn’t speak, but definitely writes

Eyal Levy

A 28-year-old computers major from Rishon-Lezion that can’t give up on journalism. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease

Ori Itzhaki

One of the first autistic people in the Israeli press, a 28-year-old from Jerusalem. Interviewed many great personas, including Gal Gadot

Josh Aronson

Born 1986. One of the first autistic journalists in Israel. Lives with his wife in Manchester, and writes for Maariv and Shavvim

Also writing for Shavvim:

Amir Stein, Itai Shaham, Avia Yosefi.
In addition, Batel Mor is the producer of “Purple Night”

Michal Gorelik

A graphic designer with a hearing disability

What did I gain from working at Shavvim

“My name is Avihai Haim, 30 years old, married with one child from Bat Yam. I was born with mild C/P cerebral palsy, as it is described in medical terms. I met Idan about two and a half years ago. I was between jobs at the time and was looking for a place that would give me an opportunity to work in the press. Unfortunately, for 8 months I couldn’t find such a place. Many people probably did not see beyond my disability.

“For two and a half years, I have been studying the journalistic work to the best of my ability. Along with the desire of a journalist to always be the first to publicize an item, one must also go deeper and bring the other sides of the story. I learned a lot during this time. I feel that I have become a better journalist who can already work in any news outlet. Yet, wherever I am working, Shavvim will always be my home”.

Our editors

The writers are closely accompanied and guided by a team of experienced editors with a rich track record in the Israeli media

Nevo Shafir

Content editor, journalist, screenwriter, and poet. Among other roles, served as an editor at “Maariv”, head of the news desk, and culture section editor. In 2019, published his first poetry book (“The Stuttering Dialogue of the World”). Holds a bachelor’s degree in screenwriting.

Idan Motola

Has amassed over 20 years of experience in the Israeli media, working at “Yedioth Ahronoth” and editing the Channel 12 morning show. His eldest son, Ohad, is autistic.

Yaron Frost

Has over 15 years of journalistic experience, working for Israeli newspapers such as “Tel-Aviv”, “Maariv”, and “Yedioth Ahronoth”. In recent years, he launched the content brand agency “Publishares”.

Our Board of Directors

The NGO’s general assembly and board of directors include members with extensive experience in the realm of communication, some of whom have a significant personal or family connection to the world of disabilities. The head of the board is Yonatan Reguer, the culture reporter of News 12, himself a person with extensive visual impairment. Other members of the board are: Polly Bronstein, former CEO of V15 and “Darkenu” movement, and today the leader of “Yozmat Hamea” project, and Ayelet Lahav, former editor of “Mamon Shishi” and “Maslul” supplements in “Yediot Ahronoth”, and currently director of marketing at Tel-Aviv medical center (“Ichilov”).

Ayelet Lahav

Former Journalist, currently director of marketing at Tel-Aviv medical center

Polly Bronstein

Leader of “Yozmat Hamea”. Sister and daughter for people with disability

Yonatan Reguer

Culture reporter of News 12, a person with xtensive visual impairment

Among the members of the general assembly

Pazit Garfinkel

Senior manager at Bank
Hapoalim. Mother of a child
with a disability

Nili Reichman

Public strategy

Lee gat

Vice President of Communication at Sheba Medical Center