The Knesset Left opposition has scored a victory in the Knesset, pushing through, in its first of three readings, a bill that will guarantee disabled Israelis get a state stipend equal to the minimum wage. Currently, the state only gives the handicapped a maximum of NIS 2,714 ($714) monthly while minimum wage stands at NIS 4,825 ($1,269) a month. The bill will also ensure the stipend goes up each year along with the minimum wage. The bill passed the preliminary reading by a vote of 42 to 39. It will still have to go through committee and pass another two readings to become law.
“It’s impossible to live off the current amount,” said in the Knesset plenum MK Dov Khenin (Hadash-Joint List), one of the bill’s sponsors together with MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz). “Raising the disabled stipend will save many people from poverty, and the battle against poverty is one of the central fights we as a society must wage.” In a tweet, Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) called the bill’s passage a “moment of joy in the plenum.”