Israeli Prime Minister threatens absenteeism if COP26 organizers fail to address wheelchair access issue

The sharply worded threat came after Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, who suffers from muscle wasting and uses a wheelchair, was unable to attend Monday’s court hearing.

Karine Elharrar, left, pictured in the Israeli President's residence in April 2021.

According to an official traveling with the Prime Minister’s delegation to Scotland, Israeli officials spent two hours getting Minister Elharrar into the COP on Monday, but “because it was not fully wheelchair accessible, efforts were in vain and the minister could not come in. ”

“A formal complaint was issued by the Prime Minister’s Office to the COP organizers on the matter. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said that if Minister Karine Elharar cannot come in tomorrow, he will not attend,” the statement added.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is not part of the delegation, tweeted, “it is impossible to secure our future and address the climate crisis without first and foremost taking care of people, including ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities.”

Britain’s ambassador to Tel Aviv, Neil Wigan, was quick to apologize.

“I’m worried about hearing that [Karine Elharrar] was unable to attend meetings at COP26. I deeply and deeply apologize to the Minister. We want a COP summit that is welcoming and inclusive for all, “he tweeted.

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