Israel holds event to boost public awareness of accessibility for disabled

JERUSALEM, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of students from 18 schools across Israel and over 2,000 citizens gathered Friday at Tel Aviv Port to take part in an annual event aiming at boosting people's awareness of accessibility for disabled people.

Hosted by Access Israel, a non-profit organization, with support from Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sports, this year's event includes a combination of Paralympic sports, such as wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, as well as fun activities, including making jewelry with eyes covered and learning sign language.

"Talking does little to promote accessibility," Michal Ramon, CEO of Access Israel, told Xinhua that the "experimental, educational and value-based" event aims to promote public awareness of accessibility, sports for the people with disabilities and their potential.

The carnival was climaxed with a flyby of planes piloted by the disabled along the shore, and a ceremony honoring Israeli Paralympians, highlighting the potential and ability of people with disabilities.

Israeli society has been working in three aspects, including regulation and legislation, public awareness, and implementation, to improve accessibility across the country, said Rani Benjamini, who co-founded Access Israel 23 years ago.

"Improvement takes a long time, and after a decade you would see major changes," Benjamini told Xinhua.

According to a governmental-led joint report released in October 2021, over 1.5 million people with physical, visual, hearing, intellectual and mental disabilities lived in Israel by 2019, accounting for 17 percent of the total population.

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