Did Netanyahu have his aide’s supervisor sent to stand in for him during address at climate summit?

CORONA DEL MAR, Calif. — A bitter brouhaha erupted last week in which British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu both claimed they had been scolded by each other’s chiefs of staff for not showing up at an international climate change summit.

It turns out that Netanyahu actually did show up, but officials in the Israeli Environment Ministry who were part of the delegation said Netanyahu’s office wouldn’t let him get onto the stage during his speech and told the group’s secretary, Ariel Levy, to cover for him.

“The man is suffering from a chronic condition and a wheelchair. The protocol won’t let him stand up,” the ministry said in a series of tweets about the incident. The Jerusalem Post reported last week that Netanyahu’s office denied the claim, saying the prime minister didn’t complain about the commotion at all.

After the revelations last week, May, who organized the conference in response to the Paris Climate Accord, announced last Friday that she would meet with Levy.

“We have agreed to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and if there was anything I could do to help remedy the situation,” she said.

“I understand exactly how difficult it is to get someone to stand up for 20 minutes in front of a large audience and I hope and expect that the Israeli embassy will take this into account for the future,” she added.

An Israeli official on Monday confirmed to The Associated Press that May has asked Levy to attend a meeting next week with Netanyahu, something May’s office announced earlier. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.

London’s Evening Standard newspaper reported on its website Monday that the Israeli delegation was dismayed at the idea of May and Netanyahu meeting but had accepted her invitation.

Levy also indicated that May had apologized for Netanyahu’s office’s alleged protest, the Standard reported.

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