Parents of autistic children wait with bated breath Wednesday, as the Knesset is due to decide whether to approve a law formalizing the rights of Israelis with autism.
A law to formalize the rights of autistic people in Israel that would have facilitated subsidies for their basic needs – transportation, residential help, and employment eligibility – was proposed during the previous government, but then fell through when the government fell.
Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), himself the father of an autistic child, and MK Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid), were among the proponents of the law, which was close to being proposed to the Knesset when the Yesh Atid pulled out of the government earlier this year.
Such bills rarely pass the Knesset plenum's approval, but several MKs – as well as parents – hope that the bill's appeal to humanity will transcend petty politics.
"This is a rare privilege of all the assembly of Israel to unite to better Israel through the law," Cohen stated to Army Radio Wednesday, urging MKs to put political considerations aside.
"There is no law for him – often, services that he needs do not exist, there is nowhere to find them and we often have to fight for him," Avigail, a mother to a 22 year-old with autism, stated to the station. "My son needs assistance and support."
While thousands of families are hoping for the bill's success, the law is not without opposition. Parents of children with other disabilities such as mental retardation say that the law favors some sectors of the population over others, and will not provide blanket support for families with developmental or mental disabilities.