|Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post|
Justice minister signs law for handicap access
By DANIELLE ZIRI
Theaters, museums, hotels, restaurants, fitting rooms among facilities that must enable service safely and respectfully.
Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman signed on Tuesday a law that aims to facilitate
the use of public services by disabled persons.
The bill, which will take
effect in six months, was approved by the 18th Knesset in December after the
Commission for Equal Rights of People with Disabilities pushed the idea
The law applies to service providers such as courthouses,
theaters, museums, galleries, libraries, hotels, restaurants, gyms, pools and
even fitting rooms in clothing stores.
Any entity that provides a public
service will have to offer access to people with disabilities in a way that
allows them to receive the service independently, safely and
The service provider will be required to buy systems
providing additional help for people with various types of disabilities. In
addition, the person receiving the service can demand to receive it in an
accessible way according to his personal needs.
For example, eligible
people can ask to receive their monthly bills in enlarged print, in Braille or
recorded on a tape.
According to the Knesset decision in December,
persons presenting a valid disability certificate shall not be required to wait
in line for services such as at banks, social security funds or
In addition, no entry fee will be charged for individuals
accompanying a person with disabilities in public places, and guided tours in
some places will be accompanied by personal wireless hearing aid
Furthermore, leisure locations such as bars and pubs will be
required to provide tables and/or adapted seating for people who need
Objects such as electrical cables, flower pots and chairs shall not
be placed in aisles accessible to the handicapped, which must be kept free of
In places where public announcements are voiced, an SMS
message will be sent to the phones of deaf or hard of hearing people.
rule also applies to houses of worship, where at least 10 percent of the prayer
books distributed must be printed in large font, and to hotel rooms, in which
bedside furniture must be easily movable.
Ahiya Kamara, the commissioner
for equal rights for persons with disabilities, who had called the Knesset
decision a “milestone in the revolution for accessibility in Israel,” said on
Tuesday that the justice minister’s signature on the law revolutionizes the
field of accessibility in the country.
The law “enables people with
disabilities, whether they are limited mentally, emotionally, sensorially or
physically, to enjoy full participation in society without being dependent on
others,” he said.