|wheelchair travel 521.(Photo by: Courtesy)|
Knesset approves new law for handicap access
By DANIELLE ZIRI
Law attempts to ensure people with disabilities will be able to equally enjoy all the services offered to the general public.
The Knesset approved an amendment for handicap access on Tuesday that will
facilitate the use of public services by disabled persons.
The law, which
had been pushed forward by the Commission for Equal Rights of People with
Disabilities, applies to service providers such as courthouses, theaters,
museums, galleries, libraries, hotels, restaurants, gyms, pools and even fitting
rooms in clothing stores.
This is to ensure that people with disabilities
will be able to equally enjoy all the services offered to the general
The law is set to be gradually implemented between 2014 and
According to the decision, persons presenting a valid disability
certificate shall not be required to wait in line for services such as banks,
social security funds or even supermarkets.
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 systems.
Furthermore, leisure locations such as bars
and pubs will be required to provide tables and/or adapted seating for people in
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 deaf or hard of hearing people.
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.
“We made history,” MK Ilan Gilon,
chairman of the Subcommittee for the Regulations for Equal Rights for the
Handicapped, said following the decision. “We performed an extraordinary job to
allow a person to reach his destination with dignity and independence. Perhaps
by 2018 we will be America as far as rights for the disabled are
“Regulations for service accessibility are another milestone
in the revolution for accessibility in Israel,” said Ahiya Kamara, commissioner
of equal rights for persons with disabilities.
“The purpose for this law
is to enable people with disabilities, whether they are limited mentally,
emotionally, sensorially or physically, to enjoy full participation in society
without being dependent on others,” he continued.
“This is a move that
eventually will allow people with disabilities to integrate into all areas of