Photo Credit: Haim Zach / GPO
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharar at COP26 on Nov. 2, 2021

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his “quick intervention” on the lack of accessibility at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Bennett and Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Karine Elharar met with Johnson on the sidelines of the COP26 conference.

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The Israeli prime minister also thanked Johnson for “taking world leadership” on the issue of climate change, saying the British prime minister had “given everyone an opportunity to re-evaluate their national policies vis-à-vis climate change.

“I can tell you that regarding Israel, it’s been instrumental, because we have now changed our policy on this and for the first time in our history, committed to zero emissions 2050, and we mean business. It’s been a watershed for us,” Bennett said.

“I want to thank you for your quick intervention on this unfortunate incident,” he told Johnson, referring to Elharar’s inability to enter the conference one day earlier, after a two-hour search of each entrance to the hall, due to lack of handicap accessibility. Elharar uses a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy.

“I think it’s a learning opportunity for all of us on the importance of accessibility for all,” Bennett said. “We’re so proud of Minister Elharar. She’s just amazing.”

He noted that Johnson is a “huge friend to Israel,” and said their meeting would focus on “how we bring our relationship to the next level.”

The British prime minister told Bennett that the UK needed to study the booster shot campaign in Israel, noting that the COVID-19 booster campaign was still underway in Britain. Johnson added that the British booster campaign needed to ‘go with Israeli speed.’

Bennett also met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and hi-tech billionaire Bill Gates on the sidelines of the conference.

The prime minister told Gates that Israel is working toward regional cooperation with its neighbors in the energy and water fields. He said whereas the countries of the region had much land but a shortage of water, Israel, which is a very small country, had the ability to generate energy that produces water.

“Israel is known as the startup nation and I think it’s time that we channel our national energy, which is the energy of the people, and the brainpower, to fighting climate change,” Bennett said.

Elharar, who also attended the meeting with Gates, said she was pleased with having the opportunity to join the meeting with “the entrepreneur who established one of the most important funds in the world that invests in energy.”

She noted that as someone who believes that innovation, alongside green energy and increased efficiency is one of the main tools in the fight against climate change, she learned much from the meeting about the way in which Israel could advance Israeli companies in the energy sector.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.