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President Herzog to lead Israeli delegation at UN climate change conference in Egypt

Israel MFA World Religions Department: Climate change conference ‘as a guiding principle, is connected to the global UN agenda’

Israeli President Isaac Herzog addresses the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference, Oct. 12, 2021 (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israeli President Isaac Herzog is slated to lead the country’s delegation to Sharm El-Sheikh next week for the United Nations’ Climate Conference of the Parties, which is in its 27th year.

The Israeli delegation to the two-day COP27 conference in Egypt will include government ministers, climate experts and academics.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid was scheduled to lead the Israeli delegation but canceled his participation following the results from Tuesday's election.

During his tenure as Israel’s president, “Herzog has made the fight against the global climate crisis a flagship issue of his presidency,” the president’s spokesperson said in a May 17 press release, which references Herzog’s “landmark ‘Renewable Middle East’ speech in February, [where] he spelled out a vision for regional cooperation for the sake of the environment.”

Last October, Herzog’s office and the Life & Society Organization joined together to establish the Israeli Climate Forum, “in an effort to get the best minds in Israel on board for a concerted bid to tackle the global climate crisis.”

Opening the first Israeli Climate Forum in May, Herzog stated that “the global climate crisis is here with full force, and it is getting worse.” 

“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,” Herzog said.

Highlighting international unity on the topic, the COP27 conference on Nov. 7 and 8 will address “Climate Change and the Sustainability of Vulnerable Communities.”

A year ago, Israel sent the second-largest national delegation – 120 people led by then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett – to the 26th U.N. climate change conference, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland. Only the United States’ delegation was larger.

At the time, Bennett described the climate crisis as being “at the core of our being” and referred to it as a national security issue.

As a lead-in to COP27, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ World Religions Department and the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development hosted an interfaith conference on climate change calling on faith communities to “mitigate and reduce human factors that contribute to global warming” and to work toward the greater use of renewable energy sources.

The ICSD, on its website, states that it “reveals the connection between religion and ecology and mobilizes faith communities to act.”

Director of the MFA World Religions Department Tania Berg-Rafaeli said at the time that the MFA conference, “as a guiding principle, is connected to the global U.N. agenda.” At its conclusion, a Jerusalem Interfaith Climate Declaration was signed that calls upon political and religious leaders, and members of faith communities, to increase their commitments to curbing climate change.

According to ICSD Founder and Executive Director Rabbi Yonatan Neril, “It’s essential to motivate climate action among religious communities, political leaders, and the wider public.” 

“Jerusalem is a key religious center for humanity, and today religious leaders in Jerusalem are making clear that curbing climate change is an ethical imperative,” he said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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