Disabled IDF vets to meet MKs about benefits
Veterans previously set up a protest tent in Tel Aviv, blocked the entrance to the defense establishment headquarters and set tires on fire.
Disabled Israel Defense Forces veterans will meet today with the Knesset Health and Welfare Committee, following two months of protest against what they say is the Defense Ministry's refusal to honor agreements with them, and declining benefits. Defense Ministry director general Udi Shani is also expected to attend the meeting.
The protesters - veterans confined to wheelchairs following spinal cord injuries - have recently been blocking traffic on streets leading to the Defense Ministry's rehabilitation branch at the Kirya (defense establishment headquarters) in Tel Aviv. On Thursday, they set up a protest tent on Shaul Hamelech Street, blocked the entrance to the Kirya and set tires on fire.
According to attorney Eddy Amiga, chairman of the committee representing veterans with spinal cord injuries, the Defense Ministry has been cutting funding for medical supplies for severely disabled veterans - including basic items such as catheters - as well as for treatment and consultations with specialists. As a result of the protests, this funding has been reinstated.
Amiga also said housing stipends have not been raised for years and are not enough to underwrite the purchase of accessible housing.
Veterans with more than 90-percent disability receive NIS 94,500.
The IDF veterans also want a special department set up, with additional manpower, to deal specifically with the severely disabled among their ranks; this would require the approval of Shani, of the treasury.