Israel’s Knesset members applaud MK Shirley Pinto, who delivered her first keynote speech in sign language
Shirley Pinto is an Israeli Deaf social-political activist, currently serving as Member of Knesset for Yamina. Pinto is fluent in the Israeli Sign Language, and is one of the founders of The Israeli Center for Deaf Studies.
Pinto was born to Deaf parents. At the age of 18, despite being discharged from military service, Pinto enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces. She served in the Israeli Air Force Technical Corps. After the initial two-year service, Pinto continued as a career officer, and in 2009 she received an outstanding medal from the Air Force commander and was recognized by President Shimon Peres for her exceptional service.
Pinto enrolled for a law degree. During her studies she participated in a delegation to the International Labour Organization at the United Nations in Geneva. In 2013 she worked as a paralegal for a Judge in Israel's Central District Court. In 2014 she interned for Member of Knesset Karin Elharar, handling legislation, public appeals and drafting policies to aid people with disabilities.
Since 2016 Pinto has been a lecturer for the studies of Sign Language Interpreting, at Bar-Ilan University.
Over the years Pinto has spearheaded public campaigns for better inclusion of Deaf people in society. She had dealt with problems in the education system, the lack of accessibility to health services and lack of adequate public infrastructure.