The Knesset marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday with a special event held in the parliament building`s auditorium, in the presence of Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein and the co-chairpersons of the Lobby for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – MKs Ilan Gilon (Meretz), Yousef Jabareen (Joint List), Deputy Knesset Speaker Nurit Koren (Likud) and State Control Committee chairwoman Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid).
”We are all united around the goal of helping the people who are sitting in this auditorium, and I wish to thank you all for opening our eyes and allowing us to see our surroundings in a different way,” Edelstein told those on hand. ”The Knesset employs people with disabilities, and they receive a Knesset employee`s paycheck. This is the Knesset`s contribution, and it is part of the aim to encourage everyone to do their part in the important fight for equality between us all.”
MK Gilon said that society is gradually becoming aware that ”there are no disabled people and people who are not disabled. Being a disabled person is not an acquired status. I wish us all that we will be strong enough to change our reality.”
MK Elharrar said ”accessibility is a way of life in the Knesset, and for this I wish to personally thank Director-General Ronen Plot and Knesset Secretary Yardena Meller-Horowitz. We do not want to hold another day such as this. We want a routine, without charity.” She mentioned that during the day the various Knesset committees discussed topics related to people with disabilities.
MK Koren said she hoped the Knesset would be able to set up a mechanism that would provide all the non-profit organizations which support disabled people with the resources that are needed in order to ”maintain equality within our society.” Perhaps, she said, there is room to set up a special government ministry that would be in charge of this mechanism.
Throughout the day, 11 different committees discussed the issue of equal rights for disabled persons, and three exhibits on the topic were on display in the parliament building`s Committees` Wing: ”There is No Limit to Love”, created by the ”Open Door” non-profit organization, which was established by the Israel Family Planning Association; ”Positive Exposure” – a photo exhibit by Beit Issie Shapiro and award-winning photographer Rick Guidotti; and the ”Courage to be Free” exhibit, which features paintings by artists with cerebral and developmental disabilities who study at the Arts Institute at Tel-Hai College.