It's difficult to imagine navigating Israel's ancient twisting stone steps, cobbled streets, and crumbled ruins as a disabled person. A major tourist hub that draws travelers from across the globe, Israel has built an economy partially based on its allure as a sightseeing destination. But despite the benefits that come with accessibility for everyone, the barriers to accommodating handicapped visitors have made it difficult for the religious and cultural capital to make the necessary changes. For context: 20% of Israel's 8.5 million population lives with some kind of reduced mobility, making the nation's need for ramps and wheelchair-friendly bathrooms all the more urgent.
Orel Lapid is leading the advocacy movement for increased mobility access. She's used a wheelchair for most of her life, since she suffers from spinal muscular atrophy — a condition that weakened her legs during childhood. Lapid's resume hasn't been impacted by the disease, though. A diver, sailer, and former military officer, she's dedicated her life to making sure everyone has the chance to pursue their passions, regardless of their mobility.
And Lapid isn't alone. Daniela Bas, the Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development at the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, is by her side. Watch the video above to learn more about their campaign to transform Israel for locals and tourists alike.