Disability Politics in Israel: Civil Society, Advocacy, and Contentious Politics


  • Hila Rimon-Greenspan




disability rights legislation, disability policy, policy change, contentious politics, social and economic rights, civil society, Israel.


Until the late 1990s, Israeli legislation had focused largely on the distribution of disability allowances and benefits, rather then on disability rights. Since then, owing largely to the efforts of the Bizchut organization and to two national disability protests in 1999 and 2001, Israeli disability policy and legislation have gradually shifted from a needs-based to a human rights and equality-based platform. Using Beck's (1994) theory of subpolitics, I analyze the emergence of disability rights advocacy and protestation, and their role in bringing about policy and legal changes in Israel. I argue four connected points: that Israeli disability politics demonstrate how civil society actors can advance change: that the activism of these actors, Bizchut and the two protests, is interconnected and mutually empowering; that these events represent the rise of the disability community as a legitimate and active social actor; and that these events constitute an Israeli visibility project and are crucial for advancing both disability rights and needs.






Special Topic: The State of Disability in Israel/Palestine