A special delegation from the US presented Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein with the Champion of the People Award for his efforts to integrate persons with disabilities and special needs into society, and specifically for the Knesset’s emphasis on employing disabled persons.
“This is a great honor for me,” Edelstein said during the ceremony on Monday.
Some 30 people, or 5 percent of the Knesset’s workforce, are persons with disabilities of various types, and there are plans to employ more in the future. A few weeks ago, the Knesset granted permanent employee status to seven of the disabled employees.
“The employment of disabled persons in the Knesset is very successful, and we are proud of it,” Edelstein said. “The Knesset serves as an example for the public and private sectors, and many people from Israel and abroad visit the Knesset to learn from our experience in this field.”
Knesset Director-General Albert Sakharovich added that the Knesset “allocates many resources for this noble cause, and uses a unique selection process towards this end. The Knesset’s members, employees and visitors are enjoying the fruits [of this initiative], and we plan to expand this important project.”
Chris G. Neeley, chairman of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, an advisory body that provides assistance to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on public policy issues related to intellectual disability, said “there is much to learn from Israel” in this field.