Many have swarmed the Tel-Aviv port from the wee hours of the morn to enjoy the sports happening "Feeling Accessibility", in the land air and sea that took place Friday, the 1st of May. The event was initiated by Access Israel with the help of the Paralympic sports association, Israel paralympic committee, the ministry of culture and sports, the Tel-Aviv port and Tel-Aviv city hall.
The event was host to sports teams, known athletes and public figures. Early on, the port was filled by 600 elementary school students from the Tel-Aviv area. The students got to experience fun challenges and meet persons with disabilities. Over the course of the event multiple showcase matches were played in different paralympic sports, such as: wheelchair Basketball, Goalball, wheelchair Tennis, blind tandem bike rides and more.
At the height of the happening an empathy cruise set sail along the coast of Tel-Aviv with an aerial formation flying above it, circling around the happening every round hour.
The unique happening had many experiential areas following the mantra:"You won't understand, until you experience" and thus let the visitors experience disabilities in physical ways such as blind ice-cream tasting, a wheelchair obstacle course, blind walking, handless graffiti, sign language tattoos and more.
The main ceremony celebrating 16 years of access Israel, hosted by Eli Ildis and in the presence of the director-general of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women in the Prime Minister's Office, Vered Swed, Knesset member Ayelet Nachmias, culture and sports ministry representative, inspector Avi Benbenishti, Yuval Wagner, founder of Access Israel, Dani Ben Abu, head of the Paralympic sports association and Israel's paralympic committee. During the ceremony Dani Ben Abu declared the start of the search for the next paralympic star.
The artistic program included the singer Boaz Banai, the two singers Sivan Talmor, Avia Shoshani and the rapper Yair Shirky A.K.A "MC CP".
In addition, the happening had showcase paralympic sports matches including known athletes and teams such as: wheelchair basketball with the Israeli woman's basketball team, wheelchair tennis, goalball played by current and former players in Israel's official soccer team, blind tandem bike riding, wheelchair rugby and more.
Among the sports event's guests were: Ortal Oren and Katja Lewintzky with Israel's woman's basketball team as well as the team's former captains, Liron Cohen and Limor Mizrahi. Former and current players of Israel's soccer team, among them: Amir Shelach, Gilli landau, the team's former goalies, Arie Bejerano, Bonnie Ginzburg, Liran Strauber and the former coach of the team, Itzhak Shum. The olympic athlete, Ester Rut Shachmorov, Basketball coaches, Efi Birnboim and Eli Rabi, Israel's current and former basketball players, Yaniv Grin, Shimon Amsalem and many more.
Access Israel founder, Yuval Wagner stated:"We looked for an original way to promote accessibility and equality for persons with disabilities. 'Feeling Accessibility' is a one of a kind event. We specifically picked the Tel-Aviv port as an accessible area with a wonderful atmosphere. We're glad that a large and varied audience of families, children, teens and athletes showed up to partake in an exceptionally educational experience and got to meet and greet persons with disabilities."
Special thanks to:
The combined efforts of the Access Israel staff and the paralympic association who worked together on the event and especially to:
Access Israel's CEO – Lawyer Michal Ramon.
Head of Access Israel's education dept – Liat Ori, as well as project managers, Oria dahan & Meital Finanser.
Head of Access Israel's resource management – Lawyers Orel Galoula Lapid & Dana Binder.
Director of the paralympic committee, Avi Lerman, Event manager - Chen Moran.
Special thanks to the event producer – Oranit Ben Dror.
Technical Producer – Gil Biran.
Thanks to Shai Sagi of ONE MAN BRAND, for the professional designs around us.
Thanks to the marketing firm Shabtai at Axmit, for promoting the event and reaching out to celebrity guests.
Thanks to Orna and Eli from the Orna Ben Haim marketing firm, and a huge thanks to all the volunteers who made the event possible.
See you at "Feeling Accessibility" 2016!