NGO: Israel businesses inaccessible to disabled
Access Israel says cinemas, restaurants, pubs, sports stadiums and synagogues don't comply with accessibility regulations.
Handicapped women in Jaffa Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Data released on Wednesday by NGO Access Israel revealed that the majority of
consumer businesses in Israel remain inaccessible for the disabled.
statistics, which are the result of a study conducted in the past year, showed
that 65 percent of cinemas, 70% of pubs and bars, 80% of restaurants and 92% of
public swimming pools in Israel are totally inaccessible to disabled
individuals. The same goes for most sports stadiums and more than half
the synagogues in the country.
Access Israel released the numbers at a
conference held in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning, discussing accessibility to
different businesses for the disabled, who make up over 17% of Israel’s
population, about half a million of whom suffer from severe
Representatives of various large companies participated in the
conference, including the owner of the Fattal hotel chain and the CEO of IKEA
“Accessibility is more of a social justice issue than the price
of cottage cheese, because without accessibility, some people can’t even get to
the cottage cheese,” said Yuval Wagner, chairman of Access Israel.
addition to discussing regulations that Israeli consumer businesses must comply
with, the conference addressed the possible benefits of accessibility – such as
increasing the sales of a particular business – since it allows the company to
appeal to a community that represents a significant part of Israel’s
“Anyone who deals with retail and accessibility knows that if
a business wants to increase its sales, it should invest in accessibility.
People with disabilities are very important consumers,” Wagner
Yonal Fogel, CEO of the Israeli oil company Paz, explained that
“providing accessibility for the handicapped is not only humane but also carries
a very significant business potential. It is necessary and important for
consumer businesses in Israel to be accessible to all customers. Private
businesses pay attention to this cause and it’s a shame that the government
allows itself to fall behind on this issue, especially in legislation. I
hope that the new government as well as the new Knesset will address the issue