Israeli minister unable to attend COP26 event due to lack of wheelchair access

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Israeli minister unable to attend COP26 event due to lack of wheelchair access

Britain's envoy to Israel, Neil Wigan, 'deeply and sincerely' apologises to energy minister Karine Elharrar, after she was prevented from participating in an event

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Karine Elharrar speaking to Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely
Karine Elharrar speaking to Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely

The UK’s Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan has apologised “deeply and sincerely” after the Israeli Energy Minister was unable to take part in talks at the Cop 26 climate change conference in Glasgow because wheelchair friendly transport was not available.

Karine Elharrar, a member of Israel’s delegation to the United Nations summit, missed talks on Monday because of the lack of suitable transport, and returned to her hotel in Edinburgh instead.

“I flew to the climate summit to take part in the fight against climate change by meeting ministers from around the world – unfortunately this wasn’t possible because of accessibility issues, which don’t have a place in the year 2021,” Elharrar said in a statement.

“I’m hoping the lessons from today will be learned so tomorrow I can take part.”

Ambassador Wigan later tweeted:”I am disturbed to hear that
@KElharrar was unable to attend meetings at #COP26

“I apologise deeply and sincerely to the Minister. We want a COP Summit that is welcoming and inclusive to everyone.”

Wigan also spoke to Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, apologising for the incident.

He also stressed that measures would be taken to ensure the situation was not repeated.

Israel’s Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid himself tweeted:” Note to the organizers of the climate conference in Glasgow: It is impossible to worry about the future, the climate, and sustainability if we do not take care of people, accessibility and people with disabilities first.”

Yair Lapid’s tweet about the incident


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: