Protesters with disabilities call on the Jews of the world to help during a rally outside the Prime Minister's Office.
(photo credit: COURTESY OF DISABLED STRUGGLE CAMPAIGN)
The ongoing struggle of the disabled to win a monthly stipend at the current minimum wage of NIS 5,300 has moved from the nation’s roads to the nation’s capital.
One week after the establishment of the “Protest Tent” in front of the Knesset, organizers from disability groups started three separate protests throughout the country this week, which included Haifa and Tel Aviv.
The main protest took place in front of the entrance to the Prime Minister’s Office, where some 20 protesters with disabilities camped out from 8:30 in the morning until about noon, holding signs and shouting slogans.
“Benjamin Netanyahu! We call on you and the entire government of Israel to come out here and talk to us and listen to what we have to say about being disregarded for the past 16 years,” Gil Goldraich, the lawyer representing the group “Disabled becoming panthers,” said on a loudspeaker outside the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday morning.
When the protest tent was established last week, 15 groups were represented; one week later, the number of groups grew to 23.
“We are asking Benjamin Netanyahu to start dealing with the disabled people’s organizations and start to meet with us on a regular basis,” Goldraich said. “You will not ignore these 23 organizations!” The group started at the protest tent, proceeded to the Ministry of Social Affairs and to the Interior Ministry, before culminating their demonstration in front of the entrance to the Prime Minister’s Office.
As of five p.m. on Monday, members of ‘Disabled are becoming panthers’ were blocking the entrance to the house of Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkoren in Hod Hasharon.
In Tel Aviv, some 30 protesters blocked the entrance to the Histadrut, while in Haifa about 20 demonstrators were blocking off Ramot Remez.
In total, some 100 representatives of the disabled community were present, according to organizers.
In Jerusalem, the majority of the 20 protesters were from the group “Disabled are Becoming Panthers.”
Representatives from the Haifa based group “Achva,” “Mazor” from Jerusalem, and a new group representing disabled people from east Jerusalem also came to protest.
Ehsan from east Jerusalem, the chairperson for this organization, told The Jerusalem Post this is the second time he has come to the protest tent and the first time he participated in a protest with the other groups.
“We hope can achieve what we are fighting for, it’s not easy, the government is still not listening and we have to continue,” Ehsan said.
“We want the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with us, in a working meeting, not a photo-op, but a real meeting,” Goldraich told the Post. “We want to tell him all the problems that the people with disabilities have, because we think his advisers are giving him incorrect information, and we are very afraid that he will once again enact a very bad law.
“Our protest is also to appeal to the Jewish organizations as well,” he added.
Eight protesters held a side demonstration in front of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, located directly across the street from the entrance to the PMO, with English signs saying: “Help!!! Jewish world leaders” and “Where is the fundraising money?” “We hope if he [Netanyahu] doesn’t listen to us, then maybe he will listen to them since they donate a lot of money to Israel,” Goldraich said.