Lieutenant-Colonel Yuval Wagner became a quadriplegic at the age of 22 after sustaining injuries in a helicopter crash in 1987 while serving in the Israeli Air Force. Following a long rehabilitation, Yuval returned to the Air Force, completed his degree in Business Management, started a family, and set out to better the lives of people with disabilities.
Yuval, whose father also used a wheelchair, recognized that the lack of accessibility in Israel limited people with disabilities from fully enjoying meaningful and independent lives. In response, Yuval established Access Israel in 1999 as the first and only non-profit in his country dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities. For 18 years, Access Israel has focused on making Israel a country in which people with disabilities are integrated into society with dignity, equal rights, and maximum independence. Access Israel has dramatically improved the accessibility for hundreds of thousands of people in Israel by promoting accessible environments, increasing awareness, legislating laws and regulations, and promoting the accessibility of services provided to the public.
As technology becomes more part of our world, Yuval is now determined to encourage Israel, known internationally as the “startup nation,” to become the “accessible startup nation.”