Tel Aviv, Israel
Currently serving his fourth term as a member of the Knesset for the Meretz political party in Israel, Ilan Gilon is the first politician in his country to have a visible disability. With a disability acquired from polio, Ilan started his career when he successfully enlisted in the military after initially being refused, later becoming a Knesset member in 1999. In this capacity, it has been his ongoing mission to make Israel a more accessible, accepting, and welcoming nation.
Ilan has acted as the head of the parliamentary lobby for the equal rights for people of disabilities, and since 2009, has served as head of a subcommittee responsible for legislating equal rights laws and accessibility standards. As a result of his work, revolutionary new regulations were set in place that called for accessibility in public areas like parks, schools, and universities. Working closely with peers and leading organizations, he helped Israel break ground as the only country in the world that requires every service provider to undergo a year of accessibility training.
Ilan holds the position of Chairman of the Meretz Parliamentary Group; heads the Knesset Accessibility Committee and subcommittee on Pensions for the Evolving Kibbutz; leads the Lobby for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Lobby for Equality in Health; co-chairs the Lobby for Housing; and is a member of the Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee.