Disabled Block Main Highways in Protest against Netanyahu Gov’t

Disabled demonstrators clashed with police and blocked a major interchange north of Tel Aviv on Sunday morning, July 9, as they continued their campaign for disability benefits to be raised to the same level as the minimum wage. Wheelchair bound protesters demonstrated at the Batzra Interchange on Route 4 in an event not previously coordinated with police thereby halting the flow of traffic. Lanes reopened less than an hour after being blocked.

Wheelchair bound protesters at the Batzra Interchange on Route 4 on Sunday morning, July 9

Wheelchair bound protesters at the Batzra Interchange on Route 4 on Sunday morning, July 9 (Photo: Struggle for the Disabled Coalition)

At noon, the protesters blocked a major intersection on Route 1 outside Jerusalem as they continue their campaign demanding better disability benefits from the government.

The wheelchair bound protesters blocked southbound lanes on Route 1 at the Latrun interchange for over a half hour before police dispersed the demonstration. On Saturday night, July 8, disabled protesters held a similar demonstration along an access road of the Ben-Gurion International Airport.

The protests are the latest in a series of escalating actions taken by disabled citizens to push for an increase in state benefits. Last month, demonstrators tried setting themselves on fire outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, but were stopped by police officers who grabbed the gasoline containers. In prior weeks, protesters held several demonstrations, blocking Tel Aviv thoroughfares and a main highway to Ben-Gurion airport after media reports that a government committee planned to recommend cutting a promised increase in allotments.

Chairwoman of the Struggle for the Disabled Coalition, Naomi Moravia, told journalists Sunday that demonstrations would escalate if the government does not act on the organizations single demand for minimum-wage level disability benefits. “Stop treating us as if we were annoying mosquitoes… The fact that medicine prolongs our lives doesn’t mean that the government needs to shorten them,” she said.