Organizations representing disabled Israelis threatened to close down Ben-Gurion Airport if their demands for greater benefits are not met, they said at a press conference on Sunday.
The fifteen groups have rejected an agreement signed with the government last month, insisting on stipends equal to the minimum wage and covering all disabled, without the gradations stipulated by the government for more coverage for severly disabled, less for more moderately disabled.
Leader of the “Disabled Panthers” group Eyal Cohen said they plan to escalate their protests from blocking traffic in major intersections to completely sealing off Ben Gurion Airport in what he said would be an open-ended action.
The appellation “Panthers” stems from the militant group of protesters for better treatment for Sephardim back in the 1960’s who called themselves “Black Panthers” after the African-American group of the same name.
After some weeks of tolerance, Israeli police recently notified the disabled protesters that they would no longer be allowed to block traffic, and began removing them from intersections. No official response has been reported so far to the threat to close Ben Gurion airport.