Driving Lessons Could Change Lives

39-year-old single mother Pnina Cohen says she might get a driver's license following the High Court's ruling.

Pnina Cohen, a 39-year-old single mother of two children, has been receiving supplemental income assistance benefits from the National Insurance Institute since 1991 because her income falls below the minimum wage. She hadn't bothered getting a driver's license because of a regulation that barred her from the benefits if she owned or drove someone else's car. Yesterday on her last day on the bench, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch struck down the provision as unconstitutional.

In response to the ruling, Cohen said she might get a driver's license now. "I started to study for my license and took a number of lessons, but when they told me it would lead to the cancellation of my assistance benefits, I stopped, because there's no point in my investing in lessons and an exam if I can't use [the license]," she said.

"I work with the elderly and care for children, and if I had a car, I would save a lot of travel time between places. It would allow me to run from place to place and to do errands much more easily and to get there much faster, which would also affect my salary," Cohen said, adding: "Maybe now, I can go back to driving lessons and finally be totally independent."

With that legal hurdle behind her, Cohen is working on removing another one. As a member of a group of single mothers working the community empowerment organization Yedid, Cohen is seeking to abolish a policy that bars single mothers from receiving National Insurance Institute-funded alimony payments if they are employed.