Shame, Shame on Israel as Police Assault Disabled protestors
There is a time when it is hoped that a red line will not be crossed regarding police brutality in Israel. Time and time again, videos are shown on social media of arrests at peaceful democratic protests; or false arrests.
This week, the disabled people made yet another effective protest in their efforts to get government attention for their pitiful living standards. They ask for their food, and enough to live. Their pleas have been ignored, so they have taken to some big actions over the past year - at Ben Gurion airport; blocking the Ayalon (ringroad) in Tel Aviv, and this week they made their protest on a motorway near Ashdod. Having to live on 2342 Shekels ($600) per month, they are marginalised by government. In 2003, the monthly allowance was 2162 Shekels. There are many cases where divorced disabled men have some if not all their allowance taken in child support. Below is an example of the events of the evening:
It is no wonder then, that this section of the community feel a need to be paid at least in line with the minimum wage of 5000 Shekels and not half of it. After hoping Prime Minister Netanyahu would approve a committee recommendation for increases, their hopes were dashed when he rejected the proposal.
The video below is not of a car accident and ambulances in attendance. Quite the contrary. This is a video of how the police arrested disabled Israeli people, by shackling them and taking them from a peaceful protest. Three fully disabled people were taken down by police and shackled. One was a man with full disability mentally. The video has sent shockwaves through Israel, reaching mainstream news. To be disabled is for many to feel like half a person, they want to live with honour and dignity. To be dragged from a wheelchair and cuffed by special forced is the most degrading act of appointed government authorities.
The message is loud and clear:
Ofer Sofer, the cripple, was beaten, and released from detention. He says - Where Netanyahu goes, then the disabled will follow him. We will not give up! We will not give up!
Tens of thousands of views of the shameful incident has brought a torrent of comments on social media. In the main people are angry, ashamed of their police and country, and supportive of the disabled.
Their message was heard, but the price was high. As one of the protestors later told me:
"I was detained, I wanted to leave but they wouldn't let me. I had to have hospital treatment the next day for an eye infection from the paint on my face - blue and white paint, worn with pride. My heart is broken to see my friends hurt by police. We are not violent people. We want to live a normal life, but we will not give up until we have our rights"
A symbol of the Disabled Protest of Israel.
Warning - video may upset people with a sensitive disposition: