• In honor of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated on the 3rd of December,  Bizchut published an update about their recent activity.

    Highlights of their activities include:

    For the First Time in Israel: Adapted Community Service Instead of Imprisonment for People with Disabilities

    Bizchut has been working for years to promote alternatives to imprisonment appropriate for offenders with disabilities. We are happy to announce a recent breakthrough in this area.

    During the past six months, Bizchut together with the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities held two training seminars for all the staff of the Unit for Community Service, part of the Israel Prison Service.

    The seminars aimed to make participants aware that people with disabilities can be successfully employed. Together with Elwyn (an organization that runs employment programs for people with special needs) we showed how employers can be recruited to employ offenders with disabilities as part of community service. We presented the concept of supported activity in the mainstream community for a person with a disability, and the adaptations required for different kinds of disability.

    The final seminar concluded with a joint declaration by the Director of Community Service, Bizchut and the Equal Rights Commission to implement a pilot project involving 12 people with disabilities who have been sentenced to community service.  Their placement and employment as part of this program will be accompanied by professionals who will advise on how to provide adaptations to meet their special needs.

    The Struggle to Save the Accessibility Law Regulation

    In July, the drafting of the statutory regulations governing access to existing public buildings was finally completed and they were brought before the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee for approval.

    The Interior Minister Eli Yishai, made his approval of the regulations conditional on over a 100 weaker local authorities being excluded from the regulations, in effect giving them an exemption from dealing with this accessibility, even though it had been agreed in the Knesset Committee that the local authorities would only be obliged to implement the regulations in 2021, 11 years from now.

    While some stakeholders yielded to the request concerning exemption of the weaker authorities in order to ensure the regulations would be approved before the recess and subsequently come into force, Bizchut thought otherwise. Together with other organizations and under the uncompromising and strong leadership of MK Ilan Ghilon, chairperson of the sub-committee for the accessibility regulations, we worked to prevent the suggested discrimination. The amendment was rejected and the regulations approved by the Committee. They are now waiting for the Minister’s signature before they can come into force.

    Class action against Egged and Dan Accepted

    In June the Jerusalem District Court accepted a class action brought by Advs. Kadari, Aharonsohn and Levi on behalf of Reuven Baron, Michelle Lustigman and Bizchut against Egged and Dan companies, in light of violation of their obligation to ensure that local public transportation is accessible to sight impaired and blind people. In its decision, the court ruled that the defendants only partly meet their obligations to install warning lines at the entrance to buses and at the top of stairs and operate internal and external public announcement systems, and do not at all meet their obligations to have accessible signs that show the bus number or indicate stop buttons or straps. In accepting the class action, the court made a precedent setting ruling that enables people with disabilities to bring a wide range of claims in relation to the implementation of the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law and its statutory regulations.

    More updates can be found in our Activity Report 2009-2010.

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