Disabled People Demonstrate for Increased Benefits

disabled benefits Israel
Disabled people protest in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

In a campaign to raise benefits for the disabled to the level of the minimum wage, about 200 disabled people demonstrated on Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv, where they blocked the exit to the Ayalon Highway from Arlozorov Street.

After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the recommendation of the Zelekha Committee to increase disability allowances to 4,000 shekels per month in several stages, he appointed a replacement committee to formulate a new plan.

The Committee for the Examination of Disability Allowances, headed by Prof. Avi Simhon, is expected to recommend increasing the allowances by hundreds of shekels only, much less than the Zelekha Committee suggested.

In addition, eligibility for the expanded amount would be restricted to those defined as at least 75 percent disabled and below the poverty line, according to Ynet.

The heads of the disabled organizations are pressing the demand for increase of disability allowances to the level of the minimum wage: NIS 5,000.

One of the demonstrators said to a reporter: “As a son of two disabled parents, why does my father have to beg? Why do the disabled people have to beg in the state of Israel? We came here and we will go to the home of Finance Minister Kahlon and fight until we win. We demand social justice and not charity. My mother has epilepsy, my father is an amputee; the time has come for the people of Israel to wake up.”

Another demonstrator said: “The disability allowance is not even enough for crumbs. People collect bottles and beg for handouts. The disabled people flock to the polls and on Election Day we will remember who put us in a deep freeze for 10 years.”

MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Camp) said: “Simhon’s recommendations are a mockery of the poor and an insult to the disabled who have been demonstrating for months for the right to live in dignity…I call upon Kahlon to struggle and if necessary, to rock the government on its foundations. The allowances must be raised to at least the minimum wage level, and we will fight for that.”

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