On Monday, Israel’s health ministry announced that it had approved the diagnosis of Down syndrome, a disorder that affects the way people process and interpret information.
The ministry said that it would now work with the Israeli and international communities to make sure children with Down syndrome receive proper medical care.
The announcement was met with immediate criticism, including from Israel’s leading advocacy organization, the Yesh Din, which called the decision a major step backward.
In a statement, the group said the announcement was an “unjust” attempt to “pander to the interests of a few in the face of the millions who need help.”
“This decision is a grave injustice to millions of children whose lives are threatened by this diagnosis,” the statement said.
“Children with Down Syndrome should be protected and cared for, not subjected to cruel and inhumane medical practices that undermine their physical and mental health.”
The announcement came on the heels of an announcement by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday that he was establishing a commission to investigate the conditions faced by children with disabilities.
It comes amid increasing calls for Israel to recognize Down syndrome as a separate diagnosis.
The United States, the European Union, and several other countries have also expressed their support for the declaration.
The United Nations has also announced its support, saying that it was “committed to the development of a policy to acknowledge and protect the rights of children with developmental disabilities.”