Access Israel may never have been established had its founding president, Yuval Wagner, not been an IAF combat pilot who suffered permanent injuries in a helicopter crash in 1987.
Confined to a wheelchair, he ruefully discovered many places were inaccessible to him. After a lengthy rehabilitation, Wagner wrote to then-president Ezer Weizman to ask his help in launching a not-for-profit organisation to create awareness of the needs of people with disabilities. To his pleasant surprise, Weizman telephoned to offer his support.
All things considered, it wasn’t so surprising. As a former commander in chief of the IAF, Weizman had a soft spot for all Air Force personnel, especially combat pilots.
And so Access Israel was launched by Weizman at the President’s Residence in 1999.
This week , some of its members and supporters were back at the President’s Residence to celebrate the organisation’s 20th anniversary, coupled with a rafter of achievements.