As the only accessible tour company in the country, Israel4All provides customized travel for groups and individuals with reduced mobility. Their services include a van with a lift and wheelchair tie-downs, assistance booking wheelchair-friendly hotels, recommendations on attractions, and more. They also host group tours a couple times per year for people who want to travel with others.
From the moment I exited Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, I toured the country with Israel4All. “Israel4All is the only company dedicated to doing tours for people with disabilities here in Israel,” says its owner, Eli Meiri. Before starting the business in 1998 and leading tours, Meiri was a social worker. “I had some people in my family working in the tourism industry, and I love my country very much. I saw the need for accessible tours and decided this will be a good way to combine my desire and my knowledge.” His passion was readily evident. If a restaurant or attraction wasn’t fully accessible, Meiri would talk with them and suggest ways to improve it.
I never had to worry about finding accessible public transportation, which was convenient, but if you’d rather explore the country on your own, you can do it. “We navigated on our own as we almost always do, mostly due to cost,” says Ruud Klaassen, who visited Israel in March 2016 with his wife, Shireen. Shireen has multiple sclerosis and while she can walk unaided for short distances, she depended on a manual wheelchair during their time in Israel. “Tel Aviv was no problem — the train from the airport to the city was accessible with lifts at both stations. All buses we took were also accessible, although we ended up walking all over the place for most of the trip,” says Klaassen.
In Israel’s major cities, public transportation is mostly accessible, but you may want to study the train and bus routes online before going to make sure that you know your way around. In cities like Jerusalem, where the streets are hilly and cobblestone, it can’t hurt to be prepared.
If relying on public transportation or a tour company doesn’t give you the freedom that you prefer, you could also rent a vehicle. Eldan Car Rental has locations all over Israel, and they offer cars with left or right-hand controls.