Israeli citizens with disabilities renew their protest to receive improved benefits..
(photo credit: DISABLED BECOMING PANTHERS (COURTESY))
Asserting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Joint Distribution Committee are conspiring against the disabled and their struggle to receive a monthly allowance of NIS 5,300, the group resumed its protests in Jerusalem Sunday morning.
Their efforts began with a demonstration at JDC headquarters Sunday morning after which the group of some 15 disabled people lead by the group “Disabled are becoming panthers” moved on to the Prime Minister’s Office, blocking the entrances and exits to the buildings. By day’s end, they had moved on to the entrance of the city, disrupting rush-hour traffic.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed the Joint Distribution Committee to prevent associations and organizations of the disabled that are supported by donations from the Joint Distribution Committee to assist in the struggle against the government to raise allowances,” Disabled are becoming panthers said in a statement released Sunday.
One of the main goals of The JDC is to steer funds toward the disabled community
in Israel and the prime minister appoints the leaders to this organization.
However, representatives of the disabled community are calling them out.
“They are suppressing any steps toward helping the struggle,” Avi Ovadya, a member of the Israeli Federation of Disabled People told The Jerusalem Post
“The main issue is that the mission statement of the JDC for the donors is that the money goes toward disability advocacy when, in reality, the funds are being diverted,” he said.
The demonstration in front of JDC headquarters also drew attention to the annual Ruderman Inclusion Conference taking place Sunday and Monday in Boston. The disabled group claims the conference was not scheduled to include any discussion on, nor was anyone representing their struggle invited to speak on their behalf during the of the event.
The JDC responded saying: “JDC-Israel develops social services for Israel’s most vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities. We do not take part in any political debate, including this one.”