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A day late, Israeli minister in wheelchair can access COP26

A day late, Israeli minister in wheelchair can access COP26

Tel Aviv, Israel (AP) – Israel’s energy minister, who is in a wheelchair, was able to attend the global climate summit on Tuesday, after the police prevented her from reaching the place.

Energy Minister Karin Elharar reached the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow alongside Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, using a ramp to enter the building, according to footage sent by Bennett’s office.

“Tomorrow exactly the same thing will be here,” he said, gesturing toward the accessible entrance. “It’s very important, so is the message” he sends, he said.

A spokeswoman for Elharar said Monday that she could not attend the conference after police at the checkpoint did not let her vehicle with the wheelchair pass.

Elharrar’s spokeswoman Shaked Eliyahu said that although the conference organizers knew she needed an accessible entrance, the minister’s car was prevented from approaching for two hours, after which she was offered a shuttle ride – which is not wheelchair accessible.

The incident brought the organizers of the media event and provoked apologies from British officials.

“We are very sorry for this incident,” Environment Minister George Justice told BBC Radio on Tuesday. “What usually happens in this situation is that Israel would announce that it has this particular need for its own flesh.

“Obviously there was something wrong in this case and they were not aware of it so they did not make the right provisions at the specific entrance she came to.”

After the incident, Elharar wrote on Twitter that “it is sad that the UN, which promotes accessibility for people with disabilities, in 2021, does not take care of accessibility at its events.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted that “it is impossible to preserve our future and address the climate crisis without first worrying about people, including ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities.”


—-_ Associated Press Writer Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this report.




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