(photo credit: OHAD ROMANO)
A bill that would stop banks from preventing people with disabilities from getting mortgages was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.
Currently, banks may deny disabled people a mortgage if they cannot get life insurance, regardless of their financial situation.
The proposal by MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid), who is wheelchair-bound due to Muscular Dystrophy, would prohibit banks from reject disabled people on the grounds of their lack of insurance.
“The Ministerial Committee said yes to equal opportunities for all, and no to discrimination, and recognized the right of all citizens to have housing,” Elharrar said.
“This bill is not meant to harm the banks, but rather to remove the heavy obstacles before people with disabilities who want a mortgage.”
As the bill was approved during Hanukka, Elharrar called it “a spot of light in the darkness” on the way to equality for people with disabilities.
Also on Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a proposal by MK Nurit Koren (Likud) to require the government to prefer using services and buying supplies from companies that employ disabled people.
“The goal of this bill is to give a fair and equal opportunity to integrate people with disabilities in the open workforce and in society in general,” Koren said.
Koren’s bill is an amendment to the Tenders Law that is meant to provide an incentive to hire disabled people by giving a preference to companies that do so in awarding government tenders.
According to Koren, government tenders are “the natural place to implement processes to create significant equality through affirmative action, such as preferring Israeli-made products, or products from certain areas in the country.”
There are 900,000 adults with disabilities in the country, and over half of them are unemployed, according to the Equal Opportunities Commission. According to data the Economy Ministry submitted to the state comptroller in 2014, the Israeli market loses NIS 5 billion per year because of the lack of integration of disabled people in the workforce.
Earlier this year, the Knesset approved in a preliminary reading a bill sponsored by Koren and MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) requiring any government office with more than 25 workers to have at least 5 percent of its workers be disabled.