Access in Israel and the Palestinian Authority

Access in Israel and the Palestinian Authority was researched by Pauline Hephaistos Survey Projects. It is based on visits made during 1998 and 1999 by members of the group. It is a guide for people who have problems getting around, and written by Gordon Couch together with members of the PHSP team. It has 280 pages. Although quite old, it still has some useful information for visitors now (in 2013).

The guide contents consist of:

  • Introduction
    • How the guide is arranged
    • Units and definitions
  • General information
    • Information sources
    • Adapted transport
    • Car hire
    • Currency
    • Insurance
    • Maps and guides
    • Place names
  • Travelling and getting around
    • By air
    • Getting around
  • Accommodation
    • Kibbutz Fly-drive packages
    • Jerusalem
      • The Old City
      • Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif
      • Via Dolorosa
      • Western Wall
      • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
      • David’s Citadel
      • East Jerusalem
      • Mount of Olives
      • Mount Zion
      • West Jerusalem
      • Givat Ram
      • Yad Vashem
    • Dead Sea region
      • En route from Jerusalem
      • Ein Gedi
      • Masada
    • PNA areas
      • Bethlehem
      • Hebron
      • Jericho
      • Ramallah
      • Nablus
      • Gaza
    • Tel Aviv and the surrounding area
      • Caesarea
    • Haifa and the north coast
      • Acre
      • Nahariya
    • Galilee
      • Nazareth
      • Megiddo
      • Mount Tabor
      • Tiberias
      • Capernaum
      • Zefat
    • Upper Galilee and the Golan
    • Be’er Sheva, the Negev and Eilat
  • Our top twenty sights
  • Design advice
  • Symbols key
  • Index

The book (and others in the series) are available from:

Access Project,
39 Bradley Gardens,
West Ealing,
London W13 8HE, UK.


It was published in 2000 as a book by:

Quiller Press
46 Lillie Road
London SW6 1TN

ISBN: 1-89916-361-1

Abbreviations and units used

For more details of descriptions used in the guides and suggestions about design criteria for toilets and bedrooms, see the Criteria page. That section also includes a description of different kinds of lifts.


  • ~ approximately
  • + steps up
  • - steps down
  • [] the height of a single step
  • ± a threshold, where there is a step up immediately followed by one down
  • AD Anno Domini (the basis of the Gregorian calendar, alternatively expressed as CE)
  • AT Alternative Tours
  • ATG Alternative Tourism Group
  • BA British Airways
  • BC before Christ (also expressed as BCE)
  • BCE before the Common Era (also BC)
  • CE Common Era (also expressed as AD)
  • CP car park
  • D door width, in cm
  • Fax: fax number
  • GF ground floor
  • GFB ground floor bedroom
  • H height in cm
  • HI Hostelling International (the international youth hostels association)
  • HR handrail
  • IGTO Israeli Government Tourist Office
  • IH Israel Handbook with the Palestinian Authority areas, 1999.
  • IHA Israel Hotel Association
  • L length in cm
  • LP Lonely Planet, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, 1999.
  • MP Mobile Post
  • MSCP multi-storey Car Park
  • OUP Oxford University Press
  • PHSP Pauline Hephaistos Survey Projects
  • PNA Palestinian National Authority
  • POB Post Office box
  • RADAR Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation
  • RG Rough Guide to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, 1998.
  • SATH Society for the Advancement of Travel for the Handicapped
  • ST Clear side transfer distance alongside toilet (cm)
  • Tel: telephone number
  • UGCP underground Car Park
  • UNRWA United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees
  • W width in cm
  • WW1 World War 1
  • WW2 World War 2
  • YH Youth Hostel
  • 16thC, 19thC are used for 16th century, 19th century etc.
  • Measurements

We have given measurements in centimetres (cm), and metres (m). Although these are the units increasingly being used internationally, both Americans and British people often think in Imperial measures. To convert metric measurements to Imperial units, use the following guidelines:

10 centimetres is about 4 inches (2.5 centimetres=1 inch)

1 metre is about a yard

1 litre is about 2 pints

1 kilo is about 2 pounds

We’ve given door widths and other measurements in cm and there’s a diagram which gives the approximate dimensions of a standard wheelchair. Obviously chairs vary in size considerably, and you need to know the exact size of yours.

Metric weights and measures are used in Israel and very roughly, a litre is just under two pints, so when you’re buying petrol (gasoline) 4.5 litres is about equivalent to a gallon. Solids are sold by the gram or kilogram. There are 1000 grams in a “kilo” and 1 kilo is just over 2 pounds weight.

For temperatures, we have used degrees Centigrade, although readers from the USA will be more familiar with Fahrenheit. To convert:

0ºC = 32ºF, 10ºC= 50ºF, 20ºC = 68ºF, 30ºC = 86ºF, 40ºC = 104ºF


Steps are listed by number, with + indicating steps up and – indicating down. The word steps is normally only used once during a description of a site, and subsequently steps are simply indicated by +2 or -6 as appropriate. Where there are single steps, their height is of particular importance and we have measured the height in centimetres, indicated thus +1 [12cm]. This means one step, 12 cm high.

Where there is a threshold, with a step up followed immediately by a step down and only a tiny gap between them, we have indicated this by using the sign ±. Again, we have indicated the height of the barrier using the format [15cm,6cm] which would mean a step up of 15 cm, and that there is only 6cm down on the other side. High thresholds can be particularly difficult for chair users.


Our definition of a unisex wheelchair toilet is one where the door opens outward; the door width is greater than 70cm and the side transfer space is greater than 70cm. If there is a cubicle inside the mens or womens toilets meeting the same specification (D70+ ST70+) then it is called a wheelchair cubicle. If the cubicle does not quite meet the criteria, but is adapted for a chair user, then we call it a unisex adapted toilet, or an adapted cubicle, and we give the appropriate measurements and information.


A lift is in a lift shaft, with doors, and a cabin which can be large or small. It goes up and down between the floors of a building.

An open lift is a small rectangular vertical lift, usually to take one chair user at a time and bypassing just a few steps – often added in a building as an afterthought.

A platform stairlift goes up stairs (attached to the wall) and has a platform which can take a wheelchair, and its occupant.

Measurements are given in centimetres (cm) for lift measurements: door width (D), cabin width (W) and cabin length (L). On this basis, you can decide whether the lift is large enough for you to use. Similarly, with toilets, we have given the door width (D) and the space for side transfer (ST) from the toilet seat to the wall. With bedrooms we normally state the door width as Dxx, the bathroomDxx as the width of the bathroom door and give the ST space also in cm.