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Tackling the climate crisis is an Israeli interest

Tackling the climate crisis is an Israeli interest

Opinion: The world has woken up, albeit belatedly, to the dangers of climate change but Israel refuses to follow suit, even though our region would be among the first to bear its brunt; now it's time for the new government to act

On October 23, 2020, then-U.S. president Donald Trump and then-presidential candidate Joe Biden stood on stage and talked for 15 minutes each about their policies regarding the climate crisis as part of a prime-time debate.

Meanwhile, never once were Knesset candidates asked on prime time what their position was on climate change over the country's four election campaigns in the last two and a half years.

The new government brings great hope as it pertains to Israel's response to the climate crisis. There is a group of ministers and MKs who are committed to the issue and are well acquainted with the solutions. They have the impetus to lead far-reaching changes, as is required in this time of climate emergency, and as is happening around the world.

However, unlike the great interest the climate crisis generates the world over — as attested by the rise of the Green Party in Germany, which is set to lead the country in the post-Angela Merkel era, or Joe Biden's groundbreaking climate policy — the issue takes a back seat in Israel.

The environmental movement in Israel is highly skilled and very committed and is joined by youth and young adults who demand their leaders preserve their future, but most of the Israeli public does not find the climate crisis to be a burning issue.

In his debut speech before the U.S. Congress, incoming president Joe Biden vowed to reduce greenhouse emissions and kickstart the economy by turning the United States into a world leader in green energy.

Here in Israel, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chose, and not by chance, to talk about another critical civic issue instead — the construction of two new hospitals in the countryside.