Israel Extends Deadline for Compulsory Accessibility Adjustments in Websites

The Welfare Committee of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) decided to extend the deadline for Israeli websites required to make accessibility adjustments, by one year. Pursuant to the Israeli regulations on Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities and the corresponding statute, virtually all Israeli websites would have had to adjust their interface in accordance with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, by October 24, 2016. Following the Committee’s decision, websites now have until October 26, 2017 to complete the required accessibility adjustments.

The WCAG address matters such as providing textual alternatives to non-textual web content, providing audio-based alternatives to video content on websites, enabling users to use websites exclusively with a keyboard (without need for a mouse or other pointing device), and clearly and comprehensibly drafting textual content on websites.
Failure to comply with the accessibility regulations following the extended deadline would constitute a civil tort entitling an aggrieved individual to recover damages, including up to 50,000 NIS (approximately $13,000) in statutory damages (without need to prove the scope of actual harm suffered by that individual). Violation of the regulations is also class actionable and in certain cases may also give rise to administrative fines.
During the Committee’s discussion on extending the deadline, the Israeli Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the Israeli Ministry of Justice pledged to amend the regulations in order to ease the burden of accessibility adjustments that website operators face.