Rabbis urge prime minister to make Israel a full partner in global climate battle

A group of Israeli rabbis drawn mainly from the national religious field has asked Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to demonstrate that Israel is a full partner in global efforts to stop climate change, saying that the crisis is already here and that action is imperative on the basis of Pikuach Nefesh, Jewish law that puts the preservation of life above most other religious rules

“The issue of sustainability is no longer about bal tashchit (a biblical law that prohibits the felling of fruit trees during a siege, but is more widely interpreted to prohibit unnecessary waste), ”read a letter signed by 21 rabbis.

The climate crisis is no longer just about “protecting the world of the Saint,” the letter continues.

“This problem today is related to the global preservation of life in the full sense of the words.”

The approach was coordinated by Teva Ivri (Israel Nature), a non-profit organization promoting Jewish environmental responsibility in Israel.

Signatories include Rabbi David Stav, head of the Tzohar Zionist religious movement, Rabbi Sharon Shalom, a Tzohar official, and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Jerusalem Yeshiva Ateret Yerushalim.

Several of the rabbis also signed a letter two years ago citing the health and environmental dangers of plastic waste.

One of the signers, Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Gottlieb, is a spiritual leader of a Hasidic community living in Kiryat Yearim (Telz Stone) near Jerusalem.

The climate crisis, the rabbis wrote, “is about a dramatic influence on human life in ways that are far greater than meets the eye: hunger, thirst, the human and security significance of migration, the enormous implications for the quality of life and our own life. existence.”

“We are no longer talking about a topic in the future, it is already present.”

Illustrative: Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire in the Givat Ye’arim moshav, outside Jerusalem, on August 16, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi / Flash90).

“All of this is unfolding in a world where many species are becoming extinct, opening a window through which we can peer into the reality that we could be approaching.”

The letter went on to say that even if some of the science was wrong, or if stakeholders were involved, the many global scientists who warned about what was happening needed to be heard and action was essential.

The rabbis began their letter by saying that concerns about climate change had nothing to do with party affiliation, religious orientation, ethnicity or national identity.

“Although our country is small and its influence (on climate change) is minor, our participation can be very significant. Do it, of course, with your eyes open, and be careful not to be manipulated, but at the same time do it with promptness and devotion to this critical issue, on which the fate of the whole world depends, and at which the eyes of many are staring. . the earth was moved…. ‘For the Torah will go out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem’ (Micah 4: 2), ”wrote the rabbis.

They concluded the letter to the prime minister by saying: “We ask you to represent the full partnership of the State of Israel in the global effort.”

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