There has been a historical breakthrough in Israeli policy regarding the disabled community: after 12 hours of intense negotiations, a compromise has been reached regarding disability pensions. The compromise was reached between Histadrut (General Organization of Workers in Israel) chairperson Avi Nissenkorn, Coalition chairman MK David Bitan, Meretz MK Ilan Gilon, and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. It details an increase of the existing disability pension in proportion to the severity of the disability, with those with the most debilitating disabilities to receive 4,500 NIS per month. The minimum wage in Israel will also be taken into consideration when disability pensions are calculated and included in the budget of the state of Israel. Disabled people will not lose their pensions if they earn more than 2,800 NIS as they do today. Instead, the sum will be increased to 4,300 NIS, enabling disabled people who can work to earn money while still receiving state support.
The government agreed that if this change proves beneficial, it will lift the salary cap even further to 5,300 nis. 300 million NIS will be allocated to pensions for the elderly, as today the elderly disabled must decide which pensions they want to get - the disability pension or the old-age pension. This extra funding will put an end to this situation. This agreement marks a remarkable compromise on behalf of all parties involved. The groups representing the disabled backed down from their original demand to increase the disability pensions of all disabled people to the minimum wage in Israel. This agreement means that even those with the most severe disability will not get 5,300 nis per month, which is the current minimum wage. Complaints from groups that represent disabled Israelis were manifested in road blocks and massive demonstrations in an effort to get attention from the government to address their plights.
Disabled protest blocks major highway in central Tel Aviv, October 1, 2017. (AVSHALOM SHOSHANI)
Some of the activists in the group have announced their desire to hit the roads one last time, but this time with flowers to reward the Israeli people for being so supportive of them and their struggle. The disabled activist group "The disabled became panthers", that was not included in the 12 hours negotiation, released a statement in which they said they will not block any more roads but "we do not get our updates from press releases and expect to be given a document which includes all aspects of this agreement." Meretz MK Ilan Gilon, who suffers from a leg disability caused by a childhood struggle with polio, authored the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities legislation.
Handicapped protestor Hana Akiva after being beaten by angry driver