Will handicapped and IDF disabled veterans be able to participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony for the IDF fallen? Definitely maybe.
Israel has over 500,000 families with handicapped members, of which at least 50,000 are IDF disabled veterans. In order to ease their access to national events and ceremonies, the government decided last February to provide accessibility to the disabled during those events.
“It is critical to publish that adequate accessibility to national ceremonies will be provided for disabled and handicapped people, so they can decide whether to attend the ceremony and avoid the inconvenience of finding out upon arrival that necessary arrangements have not been made," Yuval Wagner, Access Israel chairman, told Yedioth Ahronoth Monday.
However, Wagner claims that his organization has not received any reply on the matter, nor have they found any public announcement on the matter in the media.
When asked whether or not arrangements were made public knowledge, the Defense Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office said that there will be enclosed handicapped parking and special transportation available at the ceremony’s site.
The ceremony will also be broadcast on Channel 23, accompanied by sign language. Handicapped-accessible lavatories and special sitting areas for wheelchairs will also be made available in the ceremony’s plaza.
Plan to materialize by 2009
The Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day ceremony at Mount Herzl will also provide handicapped parking and access to the ceremony plaza. Ironically enough, there will be no handicapped-accessible lavatories on site, and the ceremony will not be suitable for the hearing-impaired.
“The Family and Perpetuation Branch in the Defense Ministry is promoting handicapped accessibility to commemoration sites in the course of a three-year program. All memorial sites will be handled by 2009,” the Defense Ministry responded.
“As far as memorial ceremonies held in cemeteries, we will do our best to allot handicapped parking and easy access to the sites, including wheelchair accessibility.
“Reserved seating for the elderly and disabled has been secured near the gravesites and ceremony plazas, in addition to the permanent cemetery benches. We also provide handicapped-accessible lavatories on Remembrance Day.”
Despite all the above said, the two government offices failed to report where they published the accessibility information.