Knesset calls for climate change to be seen as national security threat

Environmental protection official warns that rising temperatures will aggravate Israel's water shortage and could make parts of the country 'unlivable', while parliamentary researcher says climate change will further destabilize region

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Members of Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee called Tuesday for the government and security services to take the issue of climate change as a national security threat for Israel.
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  • "There is no doubt that we are in the midst of a worsening crisis… and despite the good decisions that have already been made, I don’t think that the government understands the scope of the crisis," said committee chairman and former Mossad deputy chief MK Ram Ben Barak.
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    Israelis attend a 2019 climate change protest in Tel Aviv
    Israelis attend a 2019 climate change protest in Tel Aviv
    Israelis attend a 2019 climate change protest in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Dr. Yehuda Troan, of the Knesset Research and Information Center, briefed the panel on where climate change meets security in terms of preparedness, noting three key issues: assistance in civilian emergencies due to extreme weather, military capabilities, and geopolitics.
    On the issue of operational capabilities, he said that climate will affect the time window for intelligence gathering and operations, stop training due to extreme heat or stormy weather, and may also require procurement of new equipment.
    Troan added that at the geopolitical level, the key concept is that climate change is a "threat multiplier," as the climate can undermine countries that already suffer from instability the region, and issues such as water, food, economy and refugees, will bring them to new extremes.
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    רם בן ברק בכנס השנתי של המכון למדיניות נגד טרור
    רם בן ברק בכנס השנתי של המכון למדיניות נגד טרור
    Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ram Ben Barak
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Galit Cohen, Director-General of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, noted that the “trend of global warming is significant and clear, and it is well beyond denial. This is a very relevant issue specific to Israel, as well as rising sea levels.”
    She said that Israel is likely to be hit harder by climate change than other Western nations. "We are in a Hot Spot that will be hit hard, and parts of the country can become uninhabitable areas."
    A State Comptroller report published last month warned that Israel is unprepared for a climate crisis.
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