Sand in the wheels" – a unique Access Israel campaign that promotes awareness to beach access – was held in Israel's beaches
The awareness to beach access has increased in recent years due to accessibility regulations that came into force and Access Israel's continuous work in the field. However, many of Israel's beaches are still inaccessible, including ones that presume to be, yet they are hardly 100% accessible .
Due to numerous complaints of people with disabilities, Access Israel initiated and launched a campaign dedicated to promoting awareness to beach access. The highlight of its activity took place on Monday, August 24th, between 11:00-15:00 in the following beaches: the students beach in Haifa, Olga and Hasharon beaches, Gordon beach in Tel Aviv and Sela beach in Bat-Yam .
Throughout the activity, huge signs were set on the shoreline, displaying images of people with disabilities sitting in their wheelchairs under the title "I couldn't get here, so I sent a photo". Additionally, Access Israel volunteers explained the problem and provided related information to the beach visitors, who were called to take photos under the signs and upload the images to social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. Finally, a long line of wheelchairs were half-sunken in the sand and aligned on the shore at Hasharon beach Herzliya and Gordon beach in Tel Aviv ..
When Access Israel examined 139 permitted beaches across the country, we found troubling results – over 70% of the beaches were inaccessible to people with disabilities, while the other beaches were only partly accessible .
What is an accessible beach ?
An accessible beach must include designated parking spaces for the disabled, accessible cash registers, cafeterias and toilets, accessible routes to the shore and paths to the waterline, accessible sheds and customized chairs that enable people with disabilities to enter the water (according to accessibility regulations to non-building locations). Sadly, local authorities do not publish the accessibility arrangements online as required by law since July 2014 .
At the end of the day, a visit to the beach is meant to be a pleasant, enjoyable experience for the entire family. Once a family member or friend is being disrespected and/or stared at, when he/she are carried across the beach - the entire visit turns into a family trauma. Hence, there are children to parents with disabilities and vice versa, who rarely get to visit the beach in their entire lifetime .
Yuval Wagner, the founder of Access Israel said "the campaign is our means of calling out to change the current situation and enable people with disabilities to enjoy the beaches as well. We want them to be able to visit and bathe comfortably in accessible beaches with designated parking spaces, accessible routes and services such as shades, cafeterias, toilets and dressing rooms. Such facilities will enable an enjoyable experience rather than a trauma for the disabled individual and his family "
Access Israel wishes to extend its gratitude and appreciation to "Yad Sarah" for facilitating the campaign by donating and transferring the wheelchairs for the activity . Additionally, we would like to thank Golan Lax, the director of Negishut Israel Hadera for the idea and the creative .
For more pictures of the campaign - click here