Photo Credit: Courtesy The New Right party
Shirley Pinto (C) between Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked

Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked on Tuesday announced that Shirley Pinto, a social activist on behalf of Israel’s deaf community and a founder of The Israeli Center for Deaf Studies, is joining the New Right elections list.

Pinto, 30, lives in Givatayim and serves as a volunteer consultant to the Mayor of Ramat Gan on issues of disability and accessibility. Deaf from birth, Pinto has felt the difficulties resulting from the hearing community’s lack of facility with sign language. She decided to dedicate her life to improve the lives of the hearing impaired.

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Pinto served as a Project Officer in the Air Force, and in 2009 received an award for excellence both IAF chief Gen. Ido Nehoshtan, and President Shimon Peres.

Pinto has a BA (Hons) in Law from the Netanya Academic College. During her studies she participated in an Israeli delegation to the UN in Geneva. She had a legal internship at the FWMK Law Firm in Tel Aviv, as the only deaf legal intern in Israel. Since 2016, she has lectured on sign language translation studies at Bar-Ilan University.

Pinto first met Minister Bennett in 2016, when she led the “I sign, I am equal” campaign, to raise awareness of the importance of knowing sign language, and to promote legislation to recognize sign language in Israel. Bennett joined the campaign, which so far has resulted in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev recognizing sign language as an official language.

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