Some of the blind demonstrators protest at the Knesset yesterday over their current stipend of NIS 790 per month..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
“Join us, come study Torah” an unnamed haredi man told a police officer guarding the entrance to the Knesset. This came after some 7,000 haredi protesters replaced close to 1,000 others who were representing five different protests taking place outside of the Knesset on Monday.
Prior to their arrival at around 3 o’clock, individuals from all over the country peacefully protested outside of the Knesset to make their demands heard.
These included representatives from the retired police force, the blind, the disabled, a few small protests against Israel’s offshore pipeline, and even one person in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. The demonstrators spent most of the afternoon holding signs and chanting slogans through loudspeakers in the hopes that members of the Knesset would meet their demands.
Some 500 retired police officers came to Jerusalem to put an end to waiting for their pensions. According to the protesters, they have been waiting since 2006 to receive it.
“We don’t want anything extra, just what we deserve, which they have been stealing from us,” said one woman.
Several hundred blind people arrived at the Knesset protesting their current stipend of NIS 790 per month, demanding a raise in their monthly travel stipend to NIS 2,364 – the same amount given monthly to people with disabilities.
Explaining the necessity for a higher allowance, Nati Bialistok Cohen, director of the Center for the Blind in Israel, said: “One taxi ride in one direction costs NIS 70, and if a blind person needs someone to accompany him or her, that’s another NIS 50 an hour. The state is abandoning the community of the blind to a life of loneliness.
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Many blind people have to think twice before leaving the house to go out to the park and meet people and not feel alienated. We are not less handicapped than the disabled, and even though we have legs, we are unable to travel alone. And let me be clear: we are not asking for favors, we have a right to leave the house.”
Several meters away from the day’s action, members of the 15 groups representing the disabled marked Monday as the first day of their campaign to raise their monthly allowance to the current minimum wage to NIS 5,000.
Another small protest against the gas pipeline near Haifa was also found, as well as a small protest directed toward Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman to legalize medicinal marijuana.
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