Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: Hebrew

First Advisor

Johannes Evelein

Second Advisor

Michal Ayalon


The treatment of disabled individuals, including deaf individuals, has varied by nation and taken generations to improve. The United States of America, which emerged in the 20th century as one of the major world powers, was inconsistent in its treatment of the disabled until the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The other world power, the former Soviet Union, failed miserably to consider its disabled citizens, oftentimes expelled them from society, and if not removed, forced them to endure unconscionable situations and circumstances. While these two countries' failures prove interesting to compare, the purpose of this paper is to specifically analyze the treatment of the deaf in the State of Israel and the United States of America. These two countries, (despite a relatively stable diplomatic relationship), have different health care systems, economic capabilities and demands, and geographic challenges-- all of which play an important role in their respective societies' treatment of deaf citizens.

My decision to compare these two countries is rooted in their unique relationship that incorporates politics, religion, and democracy. It was the United States, under the leadership of President Harry S. Truman, that was the first to offer recognition of the State of Israel immediately after its establishment -- creating the background for a long, complicated relationship that continues into the 21st century.

After setting forth a brief history on the treatment of deafness, I aim to properly assess the differences and similarities in the treatment and lives of deaf individuals by the respective countries, on a societal, governmental and cultural level, to identify potential reasons, motivations and results for both. Among the topics I will address, with a lens on deaf individuals, are differences in disability legislation, social constructs and identity (including education), and differences in culture.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford, CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in LACS: Hebrew.