Web Accessibility in Israel
Internet accessibility is one of the most important initiatives in the technological era promoting the mainstreaming of people with disabilities into society as well as equal opportunities in many walks of life such as education and literacy, employment, recreational activities, consumerism, communication and information. The goal of this initiative is to enable people with motor, cognitive or sensory disabilities to surf the Internet and benefit from online services by building accessible websites.
Clearly an accessible Internet can serve a person with disabilities just like any other person without disabilities, however, in practice, the Internet is all the more vital for those with disabilities since it provides access to products, services and information that a person with disabilities cannot otherwise obtain due to his disabilities. Over the past few years, the W3C WAI organization, backed by the work of many other organizations, led the campaign for web accessibility worldwide. Many countries not only encouraged and promoted accessibility but passed laws requiring making websites and online services to be accessible. Israeli law prohibits any discrimination of people with disabilities in providing services, information and products, and requires that all the above be accessible to persons with disabilities.
The Web Accessibility Task Group for people with disabilities was founded by the Israel Internet Association in collaboration with Access Israel – The Association for the Advancement of Accessibility in Israel. The task group is coordinated by Gila Gertel.
The following are among the Group's participants:
- Representatives of government ministries, including the Commission for Equal Rights of People with Disabilities at the Ministry of Justice
- Various organizations representing different populations with disabilities
- Representatives of academia and educational organizations
- Professional and commercial bodies and companies
- Technology and Internet developers
- To promote awareness of the subject of web accessibility among both the public at large and web developers.
- To persuade and enlighten website owners on the subject of building accessible sites.
- To set up and maintain a knowledge base in Hebrew on the subject of web accessibility – site's address: www.nagish.org.il
- To educate the public through professionals in the field.
- To provide professional counseling and support to organizations that wish to make their websites accessible.
- To promote suitable legislation making website accessibility mandatory.
- To introduce a website accessibility testing system.