LOTEM- Making Nature Accessible was established in 1993 by Amos Ziv, together with Sorin Hershco, a quadriplegic who was injured in the Entebbe Rescue Mission in 1976. LOTEM was founded in order to enable every individual to enjoy the beautiful Land of Israel together.
Today, LOTEM is the leading organization in Israel offering accessible hikes and educational activities in nature to children and adults with special needs. These include men, women and children who are visually and hearing impaired, physically and intellectually challenged and emotionally disturbed. These also include at-risk youth and battered women and children living in shelters for victims of domestic violence. With two centers in Yokneam and Jerusalem, LOTEM serves approximately 30,000 individuals per year.
In 2002, LOTEM together with KKL-JNF and Hadassah Women collaborated to build an accessible trail in the Nahal HaShofet Nature Park. This mile long trail is enjoyed by more than one million people every year. It offers caves, springs, wooden lookouts, picnic tables and a wide variety of flora- all free of charge. It is Israel’s first and only trail of its kind and is designed to offer the same experience to visitors of all ability levels. Paths are wide enough for wheelchairs and strollers, sides of the trail are designed for the blind and visually impaired and benches frequent the trail.
LOTEM also provides instruction to groups of special needs participants that is tailored to the intellectual and emotional needs and abilities of each participant. LOTEM’s specially trained guides help all enjoy nature in a comfortable and suitable way.
LOTEM brings nature to youth, adults and senior citizens who cannot access the outdoors on a regular basis. Weekly activities take place in hostels, rehab centers and hospitals.
Ecological Farm on Emek HaShalom (The Valley of Peace)
Through experiential nature activities on our farm in Emek HaShalom that bring to life ancient agriculture in Israel, participants with special needs are able to connect to nature and their Jewish tradition in a unique way. Visitors in wheelchairs tread grapes in the only accessible winepress in the world, those with visual impairment pick fragrant herbs and plants to make aromatic perfumes and much more.
This program enables bnai mitzvah youth to add more meaning to their special occasion by sharing it with children in Israel with special needs. Bnai mitzvah youth will give the priceless gift of nature to a child in Israel who otherwise would not be able to experience the beautiful outdoors. Participants have the opportunity to lead an accessible hike together with our soldier guides on their next trip to Israel.
Inclusive Israel Tour
Visitors to Israel have the opportunity to enrich their trip with our Inclusive Israel Tour which includes a guided tour on our all-inclusive trail in Nahal HaShofet and hands-on workshops on our farm in Emek HaShalom. Participants have the opportunity to enhance their experience through our volunteer option with a special needs group.
Join our Mission towards a Better and More Inclusive Israel
For more information go to www.lotem.net