Isaac Herzog
Isaac HerzogKobi Gideon/GPO:

On Wednesday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog announced the establishment of the Israeli Climate Forum, which will lead deliberations about the climate crisis and the State of Israel’s role in the fight against it.

The forum will include representatives from several authorities: the Government, the Knesset, Israeli academia, local authorities, and the business and industrial sector. The forum will operate under the auspices of the Office of the President and will convene several times a year.

President Isaac Herzog has decided to appoint former Member of Knesset Dr. Dov Khenin to manage the forum, which will operate with Life and Environment, the umbrella organization of groups active in this field.

In his inaugural address in July 2021, President Isaac Herzog announced that he had made it a personal mission to address the climate crisis. His intention is to boost public and national awareness about the crisis and to set in motion a response in cooperation with all sections of Israeli society.

The establishment of the Israeli Climate Forum will underscore State of Israel’s commitment to stand at the forefront of the global debate about the climate crisis, raise awareness among all parts of Israel’s leadership about the crisis and its severity, promote collaboration between government ministries involved in the matter together with different groups and sectors in Israeli society, and will promote regional and international collaboration to push for a response to the climate crisis.

Life and Environment is the official umbrella organization of the environmental movement in Israel, bringing together over 130 environmental organizations in Israel. It has the status of a representative organization in Israeli law in the framework of the Representation of Public Bodies Regarding Environmental Conservation Act (2002).

Dr. Dov Khenin, 63, a former Member of Knesset and one of the first figures to address the climate crisis in Israeli public life, promoted an environmental and social agenda during his service and led the legislation of many laws on these matters in the Knesset. Among his activities, he chaired Knesset committees on environmental and health, public transportation, and pollution in the Bay of Haifa, as well as the Social-Environmental Lobby.

Overt the past year, Dr. Khenin has led the “Changing Direction” initiative to confront the climate crisis, devised at Tel Aviv University, where he currently teaches.

Ahead of the departure of the Israeli delegation, headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, to the Glasgow COP26 Summit in November, President Isaac Herzog will host a special conference at the President’s Residence, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Minister, with the aim of raising the matter of global warming to public discourse through the public, business, and social sectors in Israel. The conference will take place with the participation of Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, Energy Minister Karin Elharar, members of the Israeli delegation to COP26, and social activists.

President Isaac Herzog emphasized the importance of collaborative relationships to the resolution of the climate crisis and said: “The global climate crisis has become an international emergency. It is having an impact our lives in every respect, from the economy to national security."

"The establishment of the Israeli Climate Forum underscores the importance of dialogue between all parts of Israeli society. I hope that we will be able to place our concern for the future of our children and the fate of Planet Earth above arguments between us. The nations of the world are all together on the international frontlines of addressing this challenge, which has become a global emergency. We must wake up, change habits, and stop the climate crisis from getting worse. The crisis is also creating opportunities that must not be missed. The State of Israel’s advantage is its ability to contribute to solving this problem through social and technological innovation and revolutionary changes to global habits.”

Former Member of Knesset Dr. Dov Khenin: “President Isaac Herzog is leading an important initiative to mobilize our society to change direction and enlist to confront the climate crisis, which threatens our future. This is an enormous challenge, which we must not run away from. A state of emergency necessitates emergency steps. Israel can and must be part of the solution. I call on all public leaders to join this initiative.”