Israel is a great choice for people with disabilities. Tour guides specialize in accommodating those with accessibility challenges. The country takes accessibility seriously; a new Israeli accessibility law is scheduled for implementation in 2015. Numerous beaches, hotels, museums and other attractions have access for the handicapped. Tours can be tailor-made to utilize other senses to experience the taste, touch, smell and more in the land of milk and honey. There are sign language interpreters and tour guides who provide Braille maps, diagrams and more. Tour guides can arrange for transportation that has wheelchair lifts; public buses in Israel even have special wheelchair ramps. There is absolutely no reason not to take your dream trip of a lifetime just because you are in a wheelchair, are deaf, blind or are disabled in some other way.
Tours can be private or for groups. Day tours are available and there are also tours for the duration of 8 to 15 days. Tours can also accommodate attendants and companions who travel with the disabled. Some tours are only for the blind, some only for the deaf, and some are only for people in wheelchairs.
The country can be explored by the handicapped from the Golan Heights in the far north to Eilat in the south. Jerusalem, the Old City and the Western Wall are favorites. The blind can touch the roughness of the Western Wall and listen to prayers and blessings. Bring your braille prayer books.
The top level of Masada’s Fortress can now be accessed by wheelchairs. There is a special area also set aside at Masada for the blind where they can experience the area by touch.
At some settlements in the Lower Galilee the deaf can bake bread, press olive oil and plant trees. The blind can feel and knead dough for bread baking and also plant trees by touch.
Tours can also include visits to wineries, dairies and other culinary delights.
Two of Eilat’s main attractions, the Underwater Observatory and the Dolphin Reef are for the most part accessible. Here is a list of additional accessible attractions.
- Vehicles for the Disabled: You can rent a car from Eldan that has either right or left hand controls, but you should reserve this at least 10 days in advance.
- Ben Gurion Airport offers services for passengers who are disabled.
- Yad Sarah offers transportation service for disabled tourists to and from Ben Gurion Airport, as well as in-city transportation for a very small fee. Yad Sarah is a charitable institution based in Jerusalem with branches in other places in Israel. Its’ services include lending out wheelchairs, oxygen cylinders and other equipment for the disabled for a small security deposit. They can help you get your hotel room fitted with all the amenities you need. They also have a shop where items can be purchased at a substantial discount. For tourists with special needs, they offer free information for touring Israel. For further information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 972-2-644-4633 or Fax: 972-2-644-4628.
- Israel Railways offers special assistance to passengers with wheelchairs or who are blind. Phone their Call center: (03) 611-7020 or the General Information Center at *5770 — at least 12 hours before your planned trip.
Did You Know?
Eilat has a state-of-the-art luxurious yacht, the Sea Bell,which is the only yacht in Israel equipped for the handicapped? For more information about the Sea Bell, see our Baruch Haba Travel Magazine article “Eilat Red Sea“.