Touring Israel on a wheelchair is not as easy as we would like it to be.
Many of the sights are off the beaten track up mountains, near water and accessible by paths that are “natural” rather than finished that you can get a wheelchair over.
In Jerusalem alone, for instance, it seems like it’s all “up and down” hills, uneven and craggy surfaces, stairs, and many others, which can prove to be quite challenging for people with limited mobility. While tourists with disabilities can definitely visit and do tours in Israel, it does not seem feasible that they join a regular tour group, as tour groups (and their schedules) are usually packed, busy, and hectic. These factors can put unnecessary stress on them.
It is much safer and more ideal to hire a private tour guide who also drives and can go with the pace of their guests with disabilities. Their rates can be quite expensive, though.
In many cases, there has perhaps been a lack of attention to these details and many places are not as wheelchair-accessible as we would like.
There is now, we hope, more awareness of the issues involved in making places more accessible to wheelchair users.
Some good news for wheelchair-bound tourists in Israel
For the disabled who want to explore history, visit friends or relatives or want to enhance their personal religious experience: Jerusalem’s Old City has now been made accessible for disabled persons who are also wheelchair users. In 2019, the city unveiled a comprehensive effort to make the Old City’s narrow streets and alleyways and steep slopes more accessible to locals and tourists with disabilities and mobility issues.
The project, as expected, was not an easy one. In the case of existing buildings (like centuries-old religious sites) and infrastructure, the city had to consider the strict guidelines imposed by the UNESCO and Israel’s Antiques Authority before integrating accessibility features into them. At the same time, the local government was also taking into account that Jerusalem is still a busy city whose locals need to go out to shop and commute to and from school or work.
Now, travelers with disability and mobility issues who wish to visit Israel may download an app, Accessible JLM, which outlines the most accessible routes around the city. These routes can help them to plan their travel in real time.
Visitors can also check out helpful websites, such as Accessible Journeys – Israel to discover accessible routes and wheelchair-friendly tourist destinations in the country.
In addition — this section we have tried to collect the places that are more wheelchair-friendly and accessible. As with all our information we have tried to be as accurate as possible, but we urge extra care and would welcome your feedback so that we can improve the information.