20% of disabled Israelis experience workplace discrimination

Large proportion of Israelis with disabilities say place of work does not provide for their disability, while 15% say their doctors’ clinic is not accessible.

Disabled Israelis protest by blocking train tracks near Shfayim. (photo credit: DISABLED BECOME PANTHERS)
Disabled Israelis protest by blocking train tracks near Shfayim.
Significant proportions of disabled people in Israel say they have experienced discrimination in the work place, and avoid doctors visits and leisure activities due to lack of accessibility, according to a poll published Tuesday for the International Day of Disabled Persons.
The poll also demonstrated substantive dissatisfaction with disabled peoples’ quality of life, with their work place conditions, and with the medical care they receive from doctors.
The survey was conducted by the aChord Center: Social Psychology for Social Change at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on a sample of 473 people with disabilities and 1,010 people without disabilities.
Findings showed, 20% of respondents with disabilities reported that they experience discrimination in the workplace, compared with just 8% of respondents without disabilities.
It also found that 47% of people with hearing disabilities who are in employment, 42% of those in employment with mental health disabilities, and 39% of those in employment with visual disabilities feel that their workplace does not provide them with the adaptations they need.
In a further disturbing finding, the survey demonstrated that 15% of people with disabilities refrain from visiting a doctor because the clinic is not accessible for them.
Additionally, 34% of respondents with disabilities think that doctors don’t believe them when they describe suffering from pain, compared with just 18% of respondents without disabilities.
In the realm of social life and leisure, the survey found that around 42% of people with disabilities reported dissatisfaction and problems of accessibility relating to leisure facilities.
Some 25% of disabled people refrain from attending concerts and performances, while 21% of respondents with disabilities said that they are forced to miss social gatherings because places of entertainment are not accessible.
More than one-fifth of people with disabilities, some 22%, refrain from using local or intercity public transport because it is not accessible for them.
According to the authors of the study, lack of accessibility to public transport has negative consequences for creating relationships and leading a full social life, contributing to the isolation of people with disabilities.
“The findings show that people with disabilities suffer daily from the incomplete formulation and application of accessibility regulations,” said Avremi Torem, Commissioner for Equal Rights of People with Disabilities, Ministry of Justice, noting that the health system has yet to introduce any accessibility regulations.
Shira Ruderman, CEO of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which was involved in commissioning the study, said that findings demonstrate that while achievements have been made, many challenges remain.
“The gaps in quality of life are a warning sign, and they show that in Israel in 2019 there are still too many physical, social, economic, and cultural barriers that impair all areas of the lives of people with disabilities, including their own personal well-being,” concluded the poll.