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Israel declares climate change 'national security' issue

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday declared the fight against climate change a "national security" priority and pledged to "facilitate" investments in green energy.

Days before the COP26 global climate summit in the British city of Glasgow -- which Bennett is due to attend -- the Israeli government announced the creation of "working groups" on climate change.

"The climate crisis is one of the major issues on the world agenda," Bennett said, calling it a "new National Security Interest" of Israel.

"It concerns the lives of all of us, and also the lives of our children and grandchildren," he added. "We are obligated to deal with it in Israel; it is at the core of our being."

The Jewish state is one of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states that invests the least in public transport.

But Bennett said the government has approved decisions "promoting clean and low-carbon transportation, energy efficiency, reducing emissions, encouraging technological innovation and accelerating infrastructure."

In June, the new coalition government led by Bennett set Israel the objective of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent by 2030, and by 85 percent by 2050, compared to the 2015 level.

Israel is proud of its high-tech sector, with companies in the cyber-security field, defence and financial technologies enjoying international success, and employing a tenth of the workforce.

The government sees similar innovation being deployed in the green sector.

"For many years, Israeli start-ups have been at the global forefront in taking action in various areas," Energy Minister Karine Elharrar said.

"This decision is intended to remove barriers, promote pioneering projects and facilitate green energy entrepreneurs."

Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg said that after "too many years of foot-dragging", the Israeli government was at last showing "real commitment" on the issue.

"The government is preparing for climate change," Zandberg said.

Topics: Naftali Bennett , Israel , Tamar Zandberg , Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
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