Ministry agrees to suspend cuts to deaf services
Welfare and Social Services Ministry re-approves budget following public protest against cuts to services for the deaf, hard of hearing.
Rally for deaf, hard of hearing in Tel Aviv. Photo: DANIELLE ZIRI
The Welfare and Social Services Ministry decided on Sunday to re-approve the budget allocation for services for the deaf and hard of hearing following a public protest outside the government building in Tel Aviv on Sunday morning.
The budget allocation will cover translation services, transcription and copying signs for the deaf and hard of hearing, Israel Radio reported.
The protest sought to rally against the planned budget cuts
for sign language translation services. Attendees held up signs asking: "Can anyone hear me?"
Labor MK Stav Shaffir called on the public to protest the Treasury's "blind" decision not to re-approve the budget allocation for translation services, transcription and copying signs for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Shaffir publicized the protest on her Facebook account, calling on the Israeli public to attend the rally which was held at 10 a.m. at the government headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Asking what the decision to withhold the funds meant for those affected, Shaffir stated: "Now, when they [those hard of hearing] go to the doctor, or the bank, or meet with their child's teacher...there is no one to interpret what was said to them."
She added that if the deaf sought to understand, they would have to pay privately for the service, commenting that a strong society is one who knows how to take care of all its citizens, and support each one in leading an independent life.
Danielle Ziri contributed to this report.