Only Some Israelis Vote for Knesset 19

Today is Election Day in Israel for the 19th Knesset

and some are calling it a celebration of democracy.

photo Israeli election box

For a hi-tech country voting is decidedly low-tech,

photo Israeli election

with a cardboard ballot box and voting booth in a school classroom.

Israeli election photo

 Inside the booth, write-in votes are possible with a pen on white paper.

Israeli election photo

The nice workers in our polling place were happy to pose for a photo.

Israeli election photo

Across the hall the scene was similar,

Israeli election photo

and though the turnout is described as heavy,

the lines were short at midday.

BUT,

stairs photo

in order to get to the voting place you had to climb stairs, lots of stairs.

While I was trying to get a good angle to show a serious problem,

Israeli election photo

a friend who had moved to Haifa came up the stairs to vote.

However, for the disabled and many elderly in the neighborhood,

there was nothing to smile about.

Israeli election photo

Outside, to get in the building there were more stairs,

Israeli election photo

and for some getting down could be as hard as going up to vote.

Israeli election photo

As I left, this woman with two walking sticks tried to vote, 

 and I do not know how long it took her to do all those stairs.

The situation for access of the disabled and elderly  

is terrible in many of the old buildings in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem election day photo

One thing no one could complain about was the weather.

blocked sidewalks

Even though many sidewalks are still blocked by trees downed by the snow,

photo from Israeli election day

today was a day to get outside and enjoy the spring-like weather.

The temperatures certainly added to a party atmosphere, 

but access for disabled must become a priority.

I still think it is outrageous that someone in a wheel chair

has a hard time to vote in a democracy.

There are  locations for wheel chair access,

but isn’t it time to make public buildings accessible?

Outrageous

Princess Chulabhorn of Thailand who is visiting Jerusalem

is recovering from an injury and presently unable to climb stairs.

"picture wheel chairs" , "photo wheel chair" , "image disabilites"

The grounds of Beit HaNasi, the President’s official residence

are accessible for those with disabilities,

however it is reported that on an official visit she had a difficult time

because of the stairs inside.

"picture stairs Jerusalem","photo Yemin Moshe",image Jerusalem steps"

Many places in Jerusalem can be difficult if you cannot do steps.

"Wheel chair at Wailing Wall", "picture Wailing Wall", "photo wheel chair"

The Kotel, the Western Wall can be accessed by wheelchair

"Step Old City picture", "Photo Old City", "image steps Jerusalem"

but until a proposed elevator is built,

getting there from the Jewish Quarter requires going down many steps.

"picture Jerusalem streets", "photo car Jerusalem", "image car"

Some sidewalks are narrow,

"picture narrow sidewalk", "Photo sidewalk Jerusalem","image Jerusalem sidewalk"

very narrow.

"Palestinian woman picture", "image Arab woman", "photo Palestinian"

The new Mamilla Mall

"image Palestinian man", "photo Arab Old City", "picture East Jerusalem"

and the central square in the Rova, the Jewish Quarter, are passable,

"picture sidewalk blocked", "image garbage dumpster", "photo Jerusalem street"

but too many sidewalks

"image bus stop", "picture old bus stop Jerusalem", "photo old bus stop"

are blocked,

"image disabled in the street", "photo traffic", "picture handicapped"

or non-existent,

"picture riding in street", "photo handicapped", "image disabled in street"

forcing wheelchairs and similar vehicles into busy streets.

None of this is news in Jerusalem,

for too many restaurants, synagogues and public buildings

are not accessible to the disabled.

"picture Sacher Park", "woman on walker picture", "image handicapped"

In Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day

when thousands and thousands of people gathered

"picture restrooms", "image bathrooms"

  …there were NO additional bathrooms provided.

Those women patient enough to wait in line had to navigate steps.

Some women required assistance,

requiring men in the toilet area to help them in and out of a waiting wheelchair.

Outrageous…

there is no excuse for this situation in the center of Jerusalem!

It may be hard to avoid going in the street in some locations,

"photo wheelchair", "picture tourists in wheel chair", "

but one should not have to be royalty to have their basic needs accommodated.

  Outrageous!

Update: April 17, 2012,

"picture new bus stop","Jerusalem bus photo" , "image bus stop Jerusalem"

 New bus stops make walking easier,

 now we need better public toilets in Gan Sacher for Yom Ha’atzmaut.