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NGO offers Shoah survivors transportation to polls
By DANIELLE ZIRI AND JUDY SIEGEL
18/01/2013
Yad Sarah organization charges that Elections c'tee has “ignored” request to subsidize trips of physically disabled voters.
 
The Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust Survivors announced on Thursday that it will make transportation available for survivors who have physical difficulties moving to go to the polls on Tuesday.

Volunteers of the association nationwide will use their own cars. The AIHHS will ensure the vehicles are easy to get in and out of, and in some cases are adapted for the wheelchair bound.

The association has called for more volunteers with SUV-type vehicles to participate in the initiative on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Yad Sarah organization charged on Thursday that the Central Elections Committee has “ignored” its request to subsidize trips of physically disabled voters on its Nechonit vans to get them to polling stations on election day.

Only Yad Sarah has offered disabled voters free transportation to vote, but due to the costs of petrol, the organization says it can’t do so without help.

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The Nechonit service is available round the year by calling 1-700-501-800; a relatively small fee is charged, but Yad Sarah wanted it to be free on Election Day.

Two weeks ago, Yad Sarah asked the committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, to subsidize the costs, as the state does pay for voters to travel by Israel Railway and the bus companies to their polling booth if it is distant from where they are on Election Day.

“The state provides rides for healthy people but ignores those who are not able to get around by themselves,” the voluntary organization’s director of services and branches said. “It’s a shame that the state invested large sums to make buildings containing polling booths accessible to the disabled, but doesn’t make sure that they can get there. In any case, the Nechonit service will operate on January 22 but those who travel will have to participate in the cost.”

In the last year, 140,000 disabled around the country were aided by Nechonit vans and were able to access weddings and other celebrations, doctors and other events.
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