The Israeli people are known for an outgoing willingness to help anyone on the street, and this extends without question to those needing disability access, such as assisting blind people with walking sticks to cross streets, and patience when awaiting the wheelchair door on a public bus. This approach comes from an overall Middle Eastern warmth, as well as the fact that many war veterans suffered injuries leading to disabled access needs.
Of note, in December, 2012, the Knesset passed a comprehensive law requiring most venues to be handicap-accessible by 2018, from wheelchair access to hearing and sight impaired services.
Do keep in mind that while most people are happily supportive, the Jerusalem streets might not be: Jerusalem is hilly, with sidewalks often narrow or nonexistent. The Old City streets and sidewalks, in particular, are largely cobblestoned and unstable. At the same time, most major museums and attractions and several hotels cater for the disabled. In addition, there are transportation options available.
Tourists can learn more about accessible Jerusalem restaurants and Jerusalem attractions on itraveljerusalem.com. We’ve put together a list below of additional helpful contact information for organizing best accessibility.
Access Israel – Information and Activism on Disabled Access in Israel
Started by someone who needed disability access in Israel, the Access Israel site offers comprehensive information on tourism sites, accommodation options, restaurants, events and taxis that are accessible to special needs travelers.
Yad Sarah (http://www.yadsarah.org/index.asp?id=106) offers transportation to and from Ben Gurion Airport, intracity and intercity transportation vans, and specific services for tourists in need of disability services. In addition, they offer all kinds of medical equipment for rent, from oxygen to walkers and everything in between.
Phone (Tourism Desk): 972-2-644-4664
Egged Buses – List of Accessible Jerusalem Bus Lines
Egged offers many accessible intercity lines in Jerusalem with a rear entry door set up with automated wheelchair access.
Car Rentals for Special Driving Needs
Many rental car companies provide cars for special driving needs – contact your preferred rental car company for more information.
In particular, the Eldan Car Rental company offers 1600 cc automatic cars with left or right-hand controls – best to reserve 10 days in advance.
Read more about car rental here.
Milbat has a site in Hebrew offering products that ease the daily life of those with disabilities, and also assisting with transportation options.