Knesset approves new law for handicap access

Law attempts to ensure people with disabilities will be able to equally enjoy all the services offered to the general public.

wheelchair travel 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
wheelchair travel 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
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 public.
The law is set to be gradually implemented between 2014 and 2018.
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 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 obstructions.
In places where public announcements are voiced, an SMS message will be sent to deaf or hard of hearing people.
The regulation 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 concerned.”
“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 life.”