Earning One Shekel An Hour

A friend of mine told me that his mid-twenties son, is working full time on a production line in a workshop, where he earns just 1 NIS per hour.

His son is one of over 600,000 Israelis who live with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities.

Israel has comprehensive disability rights legislation (apparently modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act), the Equal Rights Law for People with Disabilities, of 1998.

However, over ten years later, disabled citizens still routinely suffering the effects of discrimination – disproportionate unemployment, poverty and isolation.

For example, around 80% of Israel's blind population is unemployed. The system of National Insurance Disability Allowances is often unfairly and minimalistically implemented – with no NGO's watch-dogging over them.

Even when they do work, as in the case of my friend's son, the salary is direct contravention with the Equal Rights Law and with the labor legislation guaranteeing the Minimum Wage.

The disabled communities in Israel have tended to be split between the privileged and underprivileged. For example, Disabled Army Veterans and those injured in the workforce are amongst the relatively privileged, with several organizations providing services and advocating for these groups, who tend to be financially compensated for the effects of their disabilities.

However, Average Joe with a Disability in Israel, is likely to be long-term unemployed, subsisting on about 2000 NIS/month National Insurance, will usually live in an institution remotely located from a regular community, and then find it almost impossible to achieve the most basic tasks within a regular community.

Next time you're out-and-about, take a look at our neighborhood from the perspective of someone in a wheelchair. How do they get onto the curb? How do they get into public buildings? Or visit friends and families in private residences?

If you are an employer – please review the Equal Rights Law – summarized/translated in English:

If you have a disability or have a relative with a disability: http://www.bizchut.org.il/ is a helpful advocacy organization and resource.
Israel Association for Mental Health: http://www.enosh.org.il/Index.asp?CategoryID=360 for
Shalva – Israel Association for Mentally & Physically Disabled Children: http://www.shalva.org/


  1. Unfortunately, most people with intellectual disabilities are so happy to have "something" to do, that they will accept any "job" at any pay.

  2. Hi Rikismom
    Yes, you are correct. Disabled people rarely have any choice in negotiating a fair wage. It's a take-it-or-leave-it-deal. Where leaving it is not an option - because there is no alternative employment.

    It's the apparent lack of choice for the victim which is the breeding ground for ALL abuse.

    That is why the Government has stepped in protect those who cannot reasonably protect themselves, with legislation protecting the workforce, including the disabled, from exploitation.


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