Sixteen-month-old Muhammad Sawaed cried during a Tuesday meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee. But no one told his parents to take him out. In fact, the chairwoman of the meeting, MK Dori Pinto of Shinui, told the people present that she wanted them to hear him cry.
"He is the reason we are here today and it's important that everyone remember that," she told the officials invited from the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Israel Electric Corporation and the Misgav Regional Council's committee for planning and construction.
The meeting was called to urgently after two of Sawaed's brothers died in the last four months. Another died 20 years ago. They all had cerebral palsy, as does Muhammad, but their home is not connected to electricity and their parents could not use electrical instruments to aid them in breathing.
The meeting was held to discuss connecting the Sawaeds' home to electricity. The family is from the Beduin village of Husseiniya in the Western Galilee, which was recently recognized by the state and provided with infrastructure, including electricity and phone lines. Sawaed's home was not included inside the borders of the village that the state drew, and therefore did not receive electricity.
According to the Electricity Law, the Sawaed house could still be legally hooked up since it was built before 1987. However, the law states that no changes may be made to the house after 1987. Itamar Shuruki of the Misgav Regional Council told the meeting that Muhammad's father, Ibrahim, added a 25-meter room in 2003 and therefore they could not receive electricity.
Munira Sawaed, Muhammad's mother told The Jerusalem Post that she is afraid she will lose her last son. The doctors told her she must hook him up to a device so he can receive oxygen through his nose.
The committee was unable to come to a conclusion and gave no deadlines for finding a solution. "We need to help this family, but we need to follow the law," Pinto said.
MK Abdul Malik Dehamshe (United Arab List) suggested a visit to the Sawaed home to see what additions were made to the building.
"If necessary, we'll destroy them so the child can receive electricity," he said.