Israel’s Energy Minister Left Out of COP26 Due to Wheelchair Inaccessibility

Karine Elharrar, Orna Barbivai and Meir Cohen from the Yesh Atid party arrive for consultations on the formation of a coalition government in Jerusalem on April 5, 2021. Amir Cohen/Reuters

Israel’s energy minister Karine Elharrar says she was unable to participate in the first full day of the U.N.’s climate summit (known as COP26) in Glasgow due to the conference not being handicap accessible.

Elharrar has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair.

In an interview with Israel’s TV broadcaster Channel 12, Elharrar says she was taken to several entrances at the conference but was unable to get inside given their lack of accessibility, according to Reuters.

She told the local broadcaster that the only options of getting to the conference grounds were either by walking or boarding a shuttle that is not designed for wheelchairs.

After learning about the incident, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett contacted Elharrar, saying it was “unacceptable” that she was left out of Day 1 of the climate summit and that for Day 2, her vehicle will arrive as part of his official motorcade, thus ensuring her entry, according to The Times of Israel.

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SOURCE: NPR, Jonathan Franklin