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Is there any tour to Israel that can accomodate my 89 yr. old parents (with needs)?

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Aug 27th, 2007, 11:48 AM
  #1
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Is there any tour to Israel that can accomodate my 89 yr. old parents (with needs)?

My parents have talked about going to Israel forever and it has never happenned. Yesterday my Dad brought it up again with more seriousness than ever before.

There is no way they can go on a regular adult tour. They both use canes and my father is a very, very slow walker and limited in what he can do on foot. They would definitey need a tour company or service that has great experience in designing and executing a trip from the US to Israel for people in their situation. I have no idea if there are companies who do this or how best to go about researching this.

My father gave me the name of a tour company that he has seen advertised a lot when he was living in Florida, but when I spoke with them today I was told very clearly the adult trip average age is mid 60's and they can't have anyone who would slow up the group. They certainly would slow up a group!

My parents don't have to see the entire country - they could not keep that sort of pace. That wouldn't matter at all. If they set their feet on the soil of Israel and see some of the country, they would accomplish a life long dream and that would be enough.

I would appreciate your help if anyone has suggestions for me. My sisters and I would love more than anything to see their dream realized.
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Aug 27th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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You might do an internet search. I found this link that might help:

http://www.aisrael.org/Eng/Index.asp...5&ArticleID=60

They might steer you in the direction of a tour company or guide that could work for them.
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Aug 27th, 2007, 03:34 PM
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Author: AlexA
Date: 08/27/2007, 06:29 pm
Juldie, I found this on the Israeli tourism website, about tours for the disabled. I would get in touch with the tourist office itself at http://www.goisrael.com/tourism_eng and the groups listed who may know about tours originating in the US too
"More detailed information about sites accessible to people with disabilities can be found on the website of Access Israel, www.aisrael.org. The site offers detailed, up-to-date and reliable information on accessible tourism sites and accommodation, tours, halls, cultural events, restaurants, festivals, car rental agencies and other useful information for special needs travelers. The information, in English and Hebrew, is provided free. Personalized accessible travel planning advice for Israel is also available." http://www.goisrael.com/Tourism_Eng/...e+Disabled.htm


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Aug 27th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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one more thing. I found this OLD letter(1995!) from the New York Times, but some of the names of tour groups may still work for you--good luck!

By TERENCE NEILAN
Published: May 28, 1995
Israel for the Disabled

Q. My mother, who is 70 and confined to a wheelchair, has always wanted to visit Israel. Are there any travel agents who could help her? -- .

A. Israel is particularly well suited to cater to the disabled, according to an organization with nearly 20 years' experience in helping the handicapped. Israel's wars with its Arab neighbors left many young Israelis disabled, and it has a relatively large number of elderly and incapacitated people in its population.

In addition, the group says, because of its shrines and other places of religious interest Israel attracts large numbers of people from around the world each year, and these include the disabled.

The group, the Society for the Advancement of Travel for the Handicapped, which publishes reports and information sheets for the travel industry and for the disabled, issues a series of two-sided sheets that includes one on travel to and in Israel. It is available from the society for $3 at 347 Fifth Avenue, Suite 610, New York, N.Y. 10016; (212) 447-7284.

The sheet gives information on a number of agencies for the disabled in Israel that can provide wheelchairs, medical rehabilitation and dialysis services and even oxygen supplies.

It also lists Multi Travel, 2 West 47th Street, New York, N.Y. 10036, (212) 719-9191, fax (212) 398-9304, as a tour operator that specializes in travel to Israel for the disabled. The agency, which has been providing these services for 14 years, can handle arrangements for individuals and groups.

Amir Tours and Travel, 11 Queen Shlomzion Street, Jerusalem 94182; (972 2) 231261, fax (972 2) 251893.

King David Tours, 20A Trumpeldor Street, Tel Aviv 63147; (972 3) 5253303, fax (972 3) 5253304.

Golden Heart Project, 4 Hakikar, Kfar Saba 44229, Israel; (972 9) 974477, fax (972 9) 974481. Kfar Saba is some 12 miles north of Tel Aviv.

Also on the sheet is a list of hotels that are described as either accessible to the disabled, or, as the sheet puts it, "are stated to be accessible."

A tour operator listed by the Israel Ministry of Tourism in New York, however, stresses that each disabled person's needs are individual so that, say, a toilet with lifting bars might suit one person but be an obstacle to another.

The agency, Accessible Journeys, 35 West Sellers Avenue, Ridley Park, Pa. 19078 (800) 846-4537, has been providing travel programs for the disabled since 1985. Its director, Howard McCoy, says prospective travelers should make a full disclosure of their disabilities, which he said some were reluctant to do; they should understand that one person's notion of accessibility isn't necessarily another's and that "some places in the world will never be accessible to everyone."

The Israel Ministry of Tourism says that for information on such topics as accessible sites and wheelchair rental, visitors should call the Infocenter at (800) 596-1199.

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Aug 27th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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finally (!) a google search brought up articles about this guy. His organization's website says that they specialize in making regular tours accessible to all, but also does specialized tours. He seems to have a lot covered, as the categories he uses include "slow walkers" as well as people with greater limitations.

Now, I do not know ANYTHING from personal experience about any of the people or companie I've posted here. I just wanted to try to help you and your sisters realize you parents dreams!

http://israelaccessibletravel.com


Eli Meiri is the founder and president of Israel for All. He has more than 15 years of experience developing various services for individuals with special needs. He has worked in the coordination of case management and as an executive director in rehabilitation centers that specialize with people with mobility, senses, and emotional disabilities.

In 1997, Eli established the Tourism for People With Special Needs Department at Keli Tours - Israel, and is a licensed travel agent. He is also a member of SATH - Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality.
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Aug 27th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Thank you AlexA. I found Isreal 4 All that you mentioned in your last post. I will have to contact them. I cannot tell from their site if they just arrange services and itineraries or they actually run all inclusive tours, which is what my parents will need. It also seems like there may not be any tour operators based in the US (only in Israel)that run these types of tours.

I was actually told by the tour company I mentioned in my original post that Israel is not a country very friendly to the disabled.She said the are way behind the US, particularly in the Old City.

I am going to keep checking things out but in order for them to do it, a cohesive trip will have to be offered, not just various services offered.
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Aug 28th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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Juldie, I wouldn't be too suprised about limited access to the Old City of Jerusalem--it is "Old" after all! No way to make those ancient narrow alleys any bigger, after all. But I understand that there are ways to get people to the Western Wall, so that should work out
But, they are better than most places in the US in terms of sidewalk street cuts (for people in wheelchairs as well as the many many babies in strollers)plus the commitment that the official tourist attractions have to making things more accessible.
Good luck, I hope you can work things out!
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Sep 20th, 2007, 10:22 PM
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Have you thought about hiring a private guide for your parents rather than having them on an organized tour with other people?

I travel to Israel regularly and have some mobility problems. My parents, who were then in their early 80's were with me two years ago for my son's wedding. Both my parents have mobility and health issues.

Let me say that Israel can be doable with disabilities but there are many places that will create problems. Walking is a big issue. Cobblestones, uneven streets, hills and lack of curb cuts are only a few of the problems. In addition, stamina issues need to be taken into account as well as diet limitations and possible health problems. It is important to be able to rest when needed and to change plans on short notice if someone's arthritis is acting up, for example, or has had an exhausting day the day before. Packing and unpacking and traveling from city to city can also be daunting. Touring by bus, or even minivan, can be a problem if getting on and off is difficult for them. And keeping up the pace on a group tour of any kind is not easy.

A private guide, with a hired car, can accommodate these needs. I would choose a nice hotel in a city they would enjoy (Jerusalem is always my first choice, but it could be Tel Aviv or Haifa is those are more appealing) and base there with a guide and a car hired for, perhaps, every other day. Maybe I would do this in two cities with transportation between the two by taxi arranged by the hotel.
I would choose a 4 or 5 star hotel, if they can afford it. Depending upon their willingness to venture out on their own, they could take cabs to specific locations and arrange to be picked up in a given number of hours by the same cab. A good hotel will give you the name of a cab driver who can do that. A day in Jerusalem could include a visit to a specific sight and some time at a cafe having lunch or coffee and watching the world go by -- one of the best ways to feel the flavor of the city. They could spend an hour or two at a local market or browse some crafts shops and then have a leisurly lunch and go back to the hotel for a rest; then have the guide come for them the next morning.

If they travel on their own I would recommend a service I have used which provides VIP service from the airport to the hotel and back. The company (I can get you their information if you want it) actually will come on the plane to help them off with their hand luggage, coats etc, take them thru special, faster, passport and immigration lines, get their luggage for them and take them by car service directly to their hotel. On the trip back they do the same, picking up at the hotel and getting thru all the lines at the airport faster then you can on your own. Your parents should also have wheelchairs ordered for the airports.

Certainly your parents would have a hard time seeing all the major tourist sights around the country, but if they are willing to do a different kind of trip they can have a great time and fullfill their lifelong dream. I'd really encourage them to do it.
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