Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) burst into tears at the government’s weekly cabinet meeting Sunday.
The emotional outburst came as Lapid request support for an increase in funding for government aid to Israelis with special needs.
Lapid called on government ministers to back a new bill expanding benefits to the disabled, which would allocate roughly two billion shekels in additional funding.
The minister, whose daughter has been diagnosed with autism, thanked fellow ministers for their support after the bill won the cabinet’s backing.
“Nothing you do in life will be as important as what you have done today. I thank you all, every one of you.”
Lapid also thanked Finance Minister Avidgor Liberman, crediting him with the bill’s passage in the cabinet.
Liberman responded by noting that the bill must still pass in the Knesset.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the move “historic”.
"Today, the government will take another historic step toward integrating people with disabilities into society. Today, we will approve the government bill led by my friends, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen, which will – for the first time – officially define the rights and services of people with disabilities by law.”
“We are allocating approximately NIS 2 billion for the transition to life in the community and for a range of new services including assistance by social workers, guidance in running a household, stenographic and translation services into sign language and the list goes on. This law will provide opportunities and rights for people with disabilities and will dramatically change their lives and the lives of their families.”
“Our government has done much for people with disabilities in Israel because it is the right thing to do and we are all proud of this. Just last week we approved an important amendment that will change the lives of many people, and which will provide for 100 new accessible inter-city buses for people with disabilities so that they will be able to go to work, to their families and to studies. This has not been possible until today.”