Israel’s First Deaf Lawmaker Swears Loyalty in Sign Language

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gushes pride over fellow Yamina MK Shirley Pinto

By Israel Today Staff |
Shirley Pinto, Israel's first deaf member of Knesset
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Shirley Pinto of the right-wing Yamina party on Wednesday became Israel’s first-ever deaf lawmaker when the 36th Knesset was officially sworn in.

In a moving scene that had Prime Minister Naftali Bennett grasping his heart (see end of the tweeted video clip below), Pinto swore her allegiance to the Knesset and to serve the people of Israel in Sign Language.

At the age of just 32, Pinto is now not only a highly-visible Member of Knesset, she is also a prominent social activist and one of the founders of The Israeli Center for Deaf Studies.

Pinto was born to two deaf parents, and her mother is also blind. While such a heavy burden of disabilities would keep most people down, Pinto went on to serve in the Israel Air Force with distinction before studying law, interning with top judges and members of Knesset, and lecturing at university, alongside her activism on behalf of the deaf community.

She is married to Michael Kadosh, a deaf immigrant from the United States, and they have one son.

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