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Deaf Israelis Shot In Different Locations Due To Tension

Mistaking an Israeli deaf bus passenger for a Palestinian suicide bomber suspect, an Israeli soldier shot him on May 26th according to South Africa's 'Independent News'. Israeli security forces and Israeli citizens have been vigilant for possible attacks and in certain cases have prevented bombings and shootings. There have, however, been unfortunate circumstances where innocent people were shot. In Sunday's shooting, the Egged bus driver became suspicious when a 25-year old man got on the bus in Kfar Sava headed for Tel Aviv and silently paid for his fare with a large bill, a 50 shekel note, something that suicide bombers usually do according to police superintendent Yossi Almoslinos.

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Government Negotiations On Deaf Needs Collapse

Ruth Sinai, correspondent with the Ha'aretz newspaper in Tel Aviv says that negotiations between the Treasury and Deaf people broke down May 22nd when they failed to agree on a "Communications Basket" allowance. This allowance funds communication needs of Deaf Israelis including fax paper, batteries for hearing aids, vibrating doorbells and other communication devices that supplement or replace hearing loss. Deaf Israelis are requesting NIS 450 while the Treasury wants to offer NIS 200 for employed deaf people and NIS 130 for unemployed deaf people. The breakdown followed two meetings and Deaf people have been protesting and striking opposite the Finance Ministry for 18 days blocking reads and burning tires. "There is an agreement on the types of assistance for the deaf, the question is on how much," said Yehezkel Bakel, deputy director general of the National Insurance Institute, who took part in the negotiations.

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"Hearing-Impaired Protest" In Fifth Week

In what is being dubbed "Nobody listens to us," The Jerusalem Post reports that hundreds of hearing-impaired Israelis continue to protest outside the Knesset Sunday, June 9th. From 700 to 800 protesters have blocked roads leading to the Prime Minister's Office and the Knesset on a daily basis and at times burning tires or holding up placards in middle of the street. Among their requests, according to Feigie Swirksy, a National Service volunteer at the Kiach School for the Deaf: newscasts on TV be captioned or signed; more money to buy earpieces, and up to 50 hours a year of interpreting services a year. Knesset members "don't really listen," Feigie alleged in an interview.

Deaf Israeli Protesters End Strike

Agreement was reached June 12th between representatives of the deaf protesters and the Treasury. In a state ment issued by the Finance Ministry, each employed person who is registered as deaf will be eligible for a "communication bonus" of NIS 288 per month and unemployed deaf persons would be eligible for NIS 260 per month. These bonuses will also increase in 2004. Community centers for the deaf will also have their annual budgets increased from NIS 200,000 to NIS 500,000.