Israeli minister excluded from climate conference due to disability
foreign countries Glasgow

Israeli minister does not bring a wheelchair to the climate conference

“Climate activists think the conference is pointless”

Even if one can’t yet talk about a major breakthrough in climate policy, says UK correspondent Stephanie Polzen, there are at least one or two good headlines. This is clearly not enough for climate activists.

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Israeli Energy Minister Karen Al-Harrar suffers from muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair. That’s why she couldn’t take part in the climate conference in Glasgow on Monday: two hours later, she gave up. Worked better on Tuesday.

DrIsraeli Energy Minister Karen El-Harrar involuntarily demonstrated on Monday how bad things were with the inclusion: She was unable to attend the United Nations climate conference, which she flew from Israel to Glasgow, because it was not accessible to disabled people.

Karen Al-Harr in April in Jerusalem

What: Reuters

Al-Harrar, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, uses a wheelchair and a special vehicle for people with special needs to get around. She was escorted to several entrances but was unable to enter the conference through any of the entrances.

“I traveled to the International Climate Conference to promote the common fight against the climate crisis around the world,” she said. “Unfortunately, this was not possible due to the lack of access, which can no longer be justified in 2021.” Al-Harr expressed his hope to learn lessons from the incident, so that they focus on promoting green energies, and in the conference on Tuesday, they cannot focus on removing obstacles.

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called Harar and said the situation was unacceptable and that he would arrange for her to be taken to the conference in his motorcade on Tuesday morning. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also spoke about the incident.

Climate conference organizers should know that “you cannot care about the future, climate and sustainability without caring for people with disabilities and accessibility.”

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The UK’s ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, tweeted that he was “shocked to hear that Al-Harr was unable to attend the meetings. I deeply and sincerely apologize to her. We want a welcoming and inclusive summit.”

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“The venue, events and exhibitions are wheelchair accessible,” the conference website says. On Tuesday, Karen El Harar was finally able to participate in the Climate Summit. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett kept his promise and personally accompanied the Energy Minister to the event.

Karen El Harar called for more barrier-free access. “We can talk about accessibility and the rights of people with disabilities, but we also have to bring all the conventions and regulations to life,” she told the BBC. “It was an experiment that showed us that we have to pay attention to every detail everywhere.”

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