New website accessibility regulations in Israel

Regulations for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Adjustments for Access to Service), 5773-2013 (available here in Hebrew) recently entered into force in Israel. The regulations govern, among other things, the accessibility adjustments that websites are required to make in order to allow people with disabilities to use the websites and access the information contained in them.

The regulations apply not only to public entities, but to every service offered to the general public. They require websites to perform the adjustments set forth in Israeli Standard 5568 (available here in Hebrew), which relies on the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Accessibility Guidelines. The W3C's guidelines address, among others, the availability of textual equivalent for non-textual content, the ability to operate the functionality of the website exclusively through the keyboard (without having to use a mouse), and the creation of readable and comprehensible content.
Existing websites, as well as sites launched within the next two years, are required to complete the necessary adjustments until October 24, 2016. However, sites that complete the adjustments within the coming year will be granted relief - they are required to comply with a lower degree of accessibility, compared to sites that do not complete the adjustments within the next year. In all other cases the website must already be optimized for accessibility upon its launch.

Breach of the duty to perform the necessary adjustments is a civil wrong under the Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law, 5758-1998, which entitles the aggrieved party to statutory damages up to a maximum of 50,000 NIS. The breach is also actionable by class action lawsuit.