Measure Would Fine Government Building Managers For Accessibility
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 2, 2004
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL--The Israel news service Haaretz reported that proposed legislation would make it illegal for public buildings to not be accessible to people with disabilities.
The draft of The Equal Rights Law for People with Disabilities was approved Tuesday by the Knesset Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee. If approved by the entire Knesset, the measure would charge managers of public buildings with a criminal offense if they fail to make their buildings accessible. A fine of 67,000 NIS($15,000 US) could also be imposed.
The law would apply to all government offices, local authorities, corporations, health institutions and educational facilities.
In addition to the criminal charges, the managers could face civil suits from people with disabilities who were not able to access those facilities, with potential awards of up to 50,000 NIS ($11,200 US).
The government had requested that the law only apply to buildings constructed after 1972. That request was rejected, however, after Committee Chairman M.K. Shaul Yahalom said it was absurd that structures like the Knesset, the Israel Museum and the Hebrew University, all of which were built before 1972, would be inaccessible to people with disabilities.
The bill will go to the full Knesset next month for a second and third reading, Haaretz reported.