Britain and Israel backslide on Israel’s denying wheelchair access to UN climate talks

The British and Israeli governments publicly feuded this week, but relations have cooled to a more cordial level following a post-Suitgate encounter Monday between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israel’s Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri.

“We regret the delay and are sorry the minister was unable to attend,” May said in a statement. “We are working to ensure he is able to attend the opening ceremony. We are also discussing issues relating to wheelchair access. I’m pleased we were able to reach agreement with your government and work together to correct this.”

Dorf and other wheelchair users told Israeli media that Deri refused to allow access to wheelchair lifts, despite the fact they are standard protocol for foreign dignitaries.

“You don’t turn me away. If you bring in the lift, we can come in on foot,” Deri reportedly said.

Dorf ultimately missed the opening of the United Nations’ climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, which runs through Saturday. A government official told Israeli media on Monday that the minister was “unable to come.”

Deri accepted the invitation to Bonn, his office said, but asked to go directly to the airport because “he is traveling with a long-term patient, who has no travel restrictions.” Deri is the president of Hadassah Hospital, which is dealing with a serious bursitis infection.

Leave a Comment