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Israeli minister barred from COP26 for being in wheelchair

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

Israeli Environment Minister Karine Elharrar was unable to attend the opening of COP26 on Monday because the conference was inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.

For two hours – according to the minister’s press office – organisers prevented Elharrar, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, from entering the compound with the vehicle she arrived in.

She was then offered to use a shuttle but it was found that it was not fit to transport people in wheelchairs

At this point, Elharrar had no other option than to return to her hotel in Edinburgh.

“It was a scandalous conduct and it should not have happened”, she said, adding that he could not achieve the objectives of his trip to Glasgow.

The British Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan in a tweet apologised to Elharrar for the accident, while Bennett arranged for Elharrar’s car to be part of his official convoy so that he could reach the central area of the summit without problems.

Naftali Bennett and Boris Johnson agreed that Karine Elharrar will be present at their meeting today.

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