Israel gets its first-ever deaf lawmaker

Yamina's Shirley Pinto, a deaf social-political activist, set to take her place in Knesset after party's ministers resign from legislature as part of the Norwegian Law

Moran Azulay|
After the inauguration of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government on Sunday, Israel was set to welcome its first-ever deaf Member of Knesset.
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  • As per the Norwegian Law — which allows ministers to give up their positions as members of parliament in order to enable a different member of their party slate to assume the position in their stead — Yamina MK Shirly Pinto, 32, will replace incoming Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana, who handed his resignation to Knesset shortly after the new government had been sworn in.
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    Yamina MK Shirly Pinto
    Yamina MK Shirly Pinto
    Yamina MK Shirly Pinto
    “Finally, we have a government," Pinto wrote on her Facebook page Sunday evening. "I was very excited to see Bennett pledge his allegiance and be sworn in as prime minister. I know Israel is in good hands.”
    "The incoming Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana has resigned from his position under the Norwegian law, so I will be sworn in as a member of Knesset within 48 hours,” she added.
    “I promise to work for you, those who voted for me and those who did not. We have a lot of work to do, and this is the beginning of a new path,” the fresh lawmaker wrote.
    Prior to her entry into politics, Pinto was a social activist working to promote deaf rights and advised Ramat Gan Mayor Carmel Shama-Hacohen on issues relating to disability and accessibility.
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    השבעת הממשלה
    השבעת הממשלה
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during the swearing-in ceremony of his new government
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Pinto joined paths with Bennett and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's New Right party, which later morphed into Yamina, ahead of the April 2019 election.
    Several other ministers have also resigned under the Norwegian Law, including Blue & White's Immigration and integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, Culture and Sports Minister Hili Tropper, and Science, Technology and Space Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen.
    Mufid Mari, Ruth Wasserman Lande and Alon Tal will be sworn in as members of Knesset in their stead.
    Housing and Construction Minister Ze'ev Elkin and Communications Minister Yoaz Handel, both of New Hope, have also submitted their resignations to Knesset.
    They will be replaced by Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi and former MK Zvi Hauser.
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