Israel Climate Forum

May 18, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog have hosted the first convention of the Israeli Climate Forum.

President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog

The Israeli Climate Forum, a joint initiative of the Life & Society Organization and the Office of the President, was established in October 2021 in an effort to get the best minds in Israel on board for a concerted bid to tackle the global climate crisis.

Since entering office, President Isaac Herzog has made the fight against the global climate crisis a flagship issue of his presidency, and in his landmark “Renewable Middle East” speech in February, he spelled out a vision for regional cooperation for the sake of the environment.

In honour of today’s event, the President’s Residence was illuminated in green and special greetings were broadcast from the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in which they praised the President’s climate initiative.

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, Opposition representative Yariv Levin MK, Israeli Climate Forum Chairman Dr. Dov Khenin, Israeli Climate Forum Coordinator Dr. Zohar Berman, representatives of Youth for Climate, and ministry representatives also participated in the convention.

President Isaac Herzog said: “The global emergency is already here. It is not a problem that belongs to future centuries or generations to come. The global climate crisis is here with full force, and it is getting worse. This is exactly why we established the Forum, so that the State of Israel can fight this crisis. In the few months of the Forum’s activities, in honor of which we have convened here today, many working groups have been working intensively. We are already seeing buds of solutions and new ideas.

“The climate crisis is an issue that we must deal with more and more, because it is a challenge shared by all. Nobody disputes that this is an issue that above all, we are all ready to commit to, we are all disturbed by, we are all threatened by, and which we all have fears about for future generations. Look to your left and right and try to recall: when was the last time you saw such a diverse room? A room with so much of our beautiful Israeli diversity, convening for a shared purpose. In a partnership of fate, of destiny, out of an understanding that there is something huge above us—the commitment and mission of a generation.

“Israeli society knows how to disagree about a very wide range of issues, but it must succeed in expressing partnership in this fight, to show its creativity, its beauty, and the special quality that characterise us as individuals and a society.

“It is often said that every crisis conceals within it an opportunity, and there is certainly a great opportunity for regional cooperation, which is the greatest possible promise in terms of the common vision that can depart from here in the fight against climate change. In recent months, I have visited and had contacts with states including Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Jordan, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain. I can tell you that advancing a regional partnership in tackling the climate crisis is a subject of these contacts, and that it interests everyone, in every nation and in every society around us. It is precisely in a world in which state interests are becoming the be all and end all, destabilizing the family of nations, this crisis can prevent frictions by creating discourse and dialogue.”

The President concluded by saying: “We must define targets. We must expose the world to the original work happening in Israel, and we must also have pride and hope. We have a mighty mission, and we will rise to it only if we work together, in an Israeli partnership, in a Middle Eastern partnership, and in a partnership of all of humanity. I believe in us and in our ability to cope as a generation, as a nation, and as a state. I wish great success to everyone involved in this honourable forum and success to its leadership, in the hope that we will also see results. Thank you!”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a recorded message: “Planet Earth is heating up—that’s a fact, and we must look straight at this situation and work accordingly. To examine where Israel can contribute, beyond meeting international standards. Our uniqueness lies in Israeli technology and innovation. Israel must become a world leader in climate innovation. Therefore, I call from here to the thousands of entrepreneurs who have already made exits in other fields to enter this global fight and address phenomena caused by global warming, such as fires, the need to move cities, and so forth. I trust Israel’s innovators—we will be able to meet this challenge.”

John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, also said in a recorded message: “I really am appreciative to President Herzog for calling together everyone around this Israel Climate Forum. We are very grateful to Israel for the contributions made at Glasgow, the promises of an NDC [nationally determined contribution] that hopefully can even go up this year. And I know this meeting is a meeting to try to take stock, to determine where we are, to see what progress… I look forward to getting to Israel before too long and being able to build on what we are doing… We have a long way to go and we have to go there very quickly to keep 1.5C alive. I know we can count on Israel’s phenomenal capacity for innovation.

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