Israeli culture minister apologizes to UK for canceled summit trip

Israel’s culture and sports minister, Miri Regev, has apologized to the United Kingdom for the cancellation of a visit to the United Nations’ climate change conference in Poland this week. Regev was reportedly turning up to the summit without the proper access for her wheelchair. The UK prime minister, Theresa May, called her into a meeting to personally inquire about the seating arrangements at the conference and the nature of her disability.

“I’ve finally come here to accept your apology,” Regev told the prime minister, per The Guardian.

The meeting, which was supposed to be in private, was leaked by U.K. officials. In the meeting, the two leaders “reviewed Britain’s efforts to help Israel with its national disability awareness program,” with U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel stating, “I am certain that all eyes will be on Israel, particularly as the United Nations is considering recognition of Israel as a country with a disability awareness program.”

Regev revealed that the British delegation did not provide her with necessary support and consultation, per The Guardian.

“If this had taken place in the UK or in any country in the world, I would have been able to take part in discussions and that is why I am apologetic to the U.K. … Every parent of a disabled child knows that even the most basic understanding on how to interact with a different public is difficult. And that was true for me,” Regev said.

Prior to announcing her apology, Regev had written to May to say that she was “ready to cooperate and participate fully in the conference,” per Al Jazeera.

During the session, Regev took the opportunity to call into question May’s decision to support a so-called U.N. probe into the killing of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli military. May responded to her concern by stating that the Prime Minister of Israel has a “special place in my heart” but that she is committed to finding “a peaceful, secure and just future for Israel and the Palestinian people.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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