For the first time, a Knesset lobby group has been launched for individuals with blindness and visual impairments, headed by Knesset members Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union) and Miki Zohar (Likud).
In the presence of Knesset members, staff from the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Social Services, staff from Bituach Leumi (the National Insurance Institute) and representatives of the charitable organizations Ofek Liyladenu, Tzemed: Israeli Guide Dog Users Association, Sheshet Association of the Blind in Israel, Migdal Or, the Center for Deaf-Blind Persons and the umbrella organization the Center for the Blind in Israel.
The chair of the lobby group, Knesset member Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin: “We are obligated to act both on the issue of legislation and in the advancement of members of the community within the Israeli economy. Beyond this, the responsibility is incumbent upon us.”
Director of the Center for the Blind in Israel, Nati Bialystok-Cohen: “I’m happy to be joining hands with Knesset members to establish the first lobby group on behalf of individuals with blindness and visual impairments in Israel. We believe that together, we can advance important issues that are on the agenda for the first time, end the disparities between the rights of individuals with blindness and the rights of individuals with other disabilities.”
Knesset member Amir Peretz: “The central thing that this lobby group will certainly achieve is first and foremost changing awareness of Israeli society as to the abilities and the need to integrate this population, to provide them with tools so that they will feel as though they’re an inseparable part of Israeli society, that as a group they’re not prejudged as a burden – but rather, precisely the opposite.”
Knesset member Yehudah Glick: “This lobby group has an important role; it’s a very important lobby group. We have to listen well to individuals with blindness. They may not see physically, but there are many things in the world that are blurred for us, as sighted individuals, that they see even more clearly.”
Director Meir Spiegel of Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute): “We at the National Insurance Institute are working in collaboration with the Center for the Blind and will continue to examine and promote issues that are at stake in order to aid and assist as greatly as possible individuals with blindness and visual impairments.”