Alex Fridman

Alex Fridman (Hebrew: אלכס פרידמן; born April 5, 1988) is an Israeli activist who founded the association Disabled, Not Half a Human Being, which aimed to raise disability pensions in the country.

Alex Fridman
Alex Fridman, Chairman and founder of "Disabled, Not Half a Human Being", an Israeli Organization
Born (1988-04-05) April 5, 1988 (age 34)
Pinsk, Belarus
Political partyYisrael Beiteinu

Early lifeEdit

Fridman was born and raised in Pinsk, Belarus. In 1990, at the age of two, he immigrated to Israel with his family. As a child, he had serious health problems, and in 1996 was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy which was SMA type 2. Over the years, it has led to the paralysis of almost his full body. In 2000, due to further deterioration in the medical situation, he was forced to leave the regular educational framework and began to take lessons in his home. In those years, when he was bedridden, he began to study screen writing. In 2011, after two successful works which were published, he was invited to work with the Israeli Viva channel and created the blog novel The Final Trap.[1][2]

Social activityEdit

Establishment of Disabled, Not Half a Human BeingEdit

In 2015, Fridman began a viral campaign, under the slogan Disabled, Not Half a Human Being, to raise the disability pension in Israel, one of the lowest in OECD countries.[3] The campaign found support from some celebrities,[4] and led Fridman to initiate a rally in Rabin Square with the participation of dozens of different artists.[5][6]

In December 2015, MK Ilan Gilon proposed a bill for a disability pension at the Minimum Wage level, but the proposal did not pass.[7] Fridman addressed the chairman of the Knesset, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein and asked him to promote direct negotiations with the Cabinet of Israel. Edelstein mediated between Fridman and his team and Welfare Minister, Haim Katz, CEO of the Ministry of Finance, Shai Babad, CEO of the National Insurance Institute, Shlomo Mor-Yosef, and the Commissioner for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities, Achiya Kamara.[8]

In April 2016, Fridman founded the Disabled, Not Half a Human Being association, which champions a nonpolitical struggle to equalize disability benefits and to promote additional rights for people with disabilities in Israel.[9]

Amending the Laron LawEdit

In August 2016, following negotiations with the Finance Ministry and a protracted struggle, the government decided to allocate 300 million ILS for the purpose of increasing disability allowances and amending the Laron Law.[10][11] The move drew criticism among the disabled, who claimed that the discrimination discriminates between those with different degrees of disability and is not significant. Fridman welcomed the move, saying that this indicated a change in the government's approach to the handicaps of the disabled, but expressed reservations about the decision to allocate significantly lower amounts than expected. As a protest, Fridman initiated the Millionaires' Parade, a protest march that took place inside the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv,[12][non-primary source needed] and then blocked the nearby Menachem Begin Junction with other activists.

The cooperation between Fridman and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and his team continued in order to promote the establishment of a professional committee to discuss the situation of the disabled in Israel. In December 2016, Fridman met with Yaron Zelekha and convinced him to volunteer for his organization and to provide professional economic advice.[13] A month later, in January 2017, Fridman met with Kahlon, and suggested that Zelekha, who was familiar with the issue of allowances from his past position as the Accountant General, would submit conclusions on the subject.[14] On August 2, 2017, Fridman and his organization together with other disabled people demonstrated outside the home of Bitan, claiming that he had not kept his promise.[15] Fridman's organization held demonstrations, blocking roads throughout the country. In one of them, the demonstrators were prevented from demonstrating at a political conference organized by the prime minister in Ashdod, five protesters arrested, and police reported that demonstrators had taken violence against the police and threatened to set themselves on fire. The demonstrators claimed that the police used unreasonable force. Fridman expressed his condemnation of all violence, especially against the disabled demonstrators.[16][17]

Supreme Court effortsEdit

Fridman has also sought to raise disability allowances in the legal arena through a petition to the High Court of Justice against the Knesset and the government, which was submitted in cooperation with the Roof Organization of the disabled (which included some 30 organizations), and retired judges of the District Court, Tzipora Baron and Bracha Ofir-Tom.[18] In response, the Knesset's legal department asked the court to reject the petition because "the disabled did not prove that it was impossible to live off their pension, which stands at 2,342 ILS".[19] On June 18, 2018, chief justice Esther Hayut cancelled the petition in the High Court. She adjudicated that the disability pension had already been raised by legislation, and the petition should be corrected due to this raise.[20]

Raising the disability pensionEdit

On September 5, 2017, the chairman of the Histadrut, Avi Nissenkorn, met with Fridman and representatives of other disability organizations as well as heads of actions and of the big unions, and declared their support for the outline of Professor Zelikha with a budget of 4 billion ILS. On September 28, 2017, Nissenkorn, MKs Ilan Gilon and David Bitan, Avi Simhon, Fridman and several other disabled representatives gathered for a meeting that lasted more than 12 hours, and presented an outline, based on Zelekha's outline, with two significant changes: an addition of 150 million ILS to 50,000 disabled children and a linkage to the average wage in the economy. At the end of the meeting, a compromise agreement was reached within the framework of a budget of 4.2 billion ILS.[21]

After months in which the government delayed the enactment of the agreement, Fridman announced on January 11, 2018, that protests would be renewed.[22] Fridman and 34 leading social organizations signed a letter to Kahlon with the title "Expect net actions", with a requirement to pass the law.[23] On February 12, 2018, the law passed the second and third readings in a budgetary framework of 4.34 billion ILS and entered the law book in Israel.[24][25] At the end of March 2018, after many protests, the disability pension was raised from 2,342 to 3,272 ILS a month.[26]

Biographic documentary and Knesset aspirationsEdit

In June 2018, three students of Ort Shapira high school[27] in Kfar Saba made a documentary film about Fridman as their matriculation work.[28] The film was directed by May Moran and described Fridman's childhood and advocacy in the Knesset. The film ended by showing the vote in the Knesset in February 2018. Moran was shown towards the end of the film, sitting alongside Fridman in a group photo.

On December 31, 2018, Fridman said that he would run for the twenty-first Knesset.[29][30] On February 19, 2019, Fridman joined Yisrael Beiteinu as the 12th member in its list of candidates.[31] The party only won five seats, so Fridman was left out of the legislature.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Alex Fridman. "המלכודת הסופית: פרק 7" [The Final Trap: Chapter 7]. (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  2. ^ "ארכיון הכתבות על בלוגנובלה" [Archive of articles of the blog novel]. (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Shelly Levy, Senior Research Coordinator (November 2, 2010). "General Disability Pension in Israel" (PDF). Knesset (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  4. ^ Galit Gutmann and Yoav Limor (January 18, 2015). "Disabled protest on the network: 'Disabled, Not Half a Human Being'". Mako (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Bat-El Benjamin (August 22, 2016). "The protest of the Disabled is sweeping the net". Channel 20 (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Telem Yahav (December 27, 2016). "The politicians got used to the disabled being silent". Yedioth Ahronoth (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Knesset Announcements (December 2, 2015). "Declined in preliminary: Equalizing the disability pension to the minimum wage". Knesset (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Hanan Tal (October 8, 2017). "How did a 27-year-old disabled person from Yavne become the most strongman in the state". TheMarker (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "נכה לא חצי בן אדם, ע"ר" [Disabled, Not Half a Human Being, a registered voluntary association]. guidestar (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  10. ^ "מתווה להקצאת 300 מיליון ש"ח למקבלי קצבאות נכות" [An outline for the allocation of 300 million ILS to recipients of disability pensions]. National Insurance Institute of Israel (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  11. ^ "Laron Law in a Seminar on Integration of People with Disabilities in Employment". Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. October 17, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  12. ^ Disabled, Not Half a Human Being (August 31, 2016). "Millionaires' Parade". Facebook. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  13. ^ Miki Haimovich (January 2, 2018). "The System Season 5 Episode 3". Reshet 13 (in Hebrew). minute 32:50 and on. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  14. ^ Alex Fridman (October 15, 2017). "Disabled, Not Half a Human Being: Alex Fridman explains". MYavne (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  15. ^ Tal Carmon (August 2, 2017). "Disabled people do not give up". Davar1 ("In the first place") (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Sarah Levi (August 14, 2017). "Protesters on Highway 4 demand higher wage for the disabled". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  17. ^ Almog Ben Zikri and Lee Yaron (August 14, 2017). "Police arrested five disabled people at a demonstration for disability pensions in Ashdod". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  18. ^ Lee Yaron (June 6, 2017). "The disabled organizations petitioned the High Court of Justice against the state following the postponement of raising the allowances". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  19. ^ Natalie Metuku (August 9, 2018). "The Knesset: The disabled did not prove that the disability pension was insufficient". Kan (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  20. ^ Lee Yaron (June 18, 2018). "The High Court of Justice ordered the cancellation of the petition of disability organizations to equalize the disability pension to the minimum wage". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  21. ^ Amir Alon (September 29, 2017). "Agreement reached, disability pensions will be raised". Ynetnews. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  22. ^ Amir Alon (January 11, 2018). "Disabled people launch a Campaign: Netanyahu did not stand the word". Ynet (in Hebrew). Length 0:42 minutes. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  23. ^ Amir Alon (January 23, 2018). "Social organizations to Kahlon: Pass the law on raising allowances in January". Davar1 (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  24. ^ Lidar Gravé-Lazi and Lahav Harkov (February 13, 2018). "Knesset passes bill for NIS 4.34 billion increase in disability allotments". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  25. ^ Knesset Announcements (February 13, 2015). "Finally approved: Raising the disability allowances". Knesset (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  26. ^ "העלאת קצבאות הנכות" [Increase of disability pensions]. National Insurance Institute of Israel (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  27. ^ Ort. "New Media and Advertising". Shapira Ort (in Hebrew). Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  28. ^ "This has to be a struggle for all of us as a society" (Hebrew), Ynet, July 3, 2018.
  29. ^ Tal Carmon (December 31, 2018). "Joining the race". Davar1. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  30. ^ Inbar Tvizer (December 31, 2018). "The leader of the protest of the disabled people establishes a party: I will not be a lovely disabled". Ynet. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  31. ^ "Was not presented on stage with fellow party members – due to accessibility issues", Ynet, February 20, 2019.

External linksEdit