Demonstrators set off from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Friday morning to urge action on climate change ahead of the COP27 conference set to begin in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh on November 6.
The climate march, held each year in the run-up to the United Nations’ annual climate conference, attracted 15,000 people according to the Maariv newspaper, among them around 40 nonprofit organizations, along with student unions, youth movements and lawmakers.
Yorai Lahav-Hertzanu, a member of Knesset for the centrist Yesh Atid party, attended the march, posting a photo to Twitter alongside his colleague Economy Minister Orna Barbivai.
Likewise, Meretz MK Mossi Raz posted a photo from the event with fellow party MK Gaby Lasky, lauding the participation of “many thousands more people.”
Elad Hochman, CEO of Green Course, told Maariv that “each year our size and power grows. This year, four days before the election and in an unprecedented manner, thousands have attended to demand the parties place environmental and climate issues at the center of the agenda.”
Hochman said while the march began Friday morning, it “only finishes at the ballot box.”
Iris Han, the CEO of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, also appealed to voters to prioritize climate action when they vote in next week’s national elections.
“I’m marching for the defense of nature, our line of defense… against the climate crisis. We’re marching together to tell voters that a healthy environment is not a luxury, it is vital and critical to our health, to existence, and to our future.”
SPNI urged marchers to demand the improvement and completion of a climate law that passed its first reading in the Knesset in May after being watered down under pressure from the Finance Ministry.
Only a handful of Knesset members on party lists for the upcoming Israeli election have shown any interest in environmental issues, among them former environmental protection minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) — ranked 30 on the party’s list — Lahav-Hertzanu (15th in Yesh Atid) and his colleague Yasmin Sacks Friedman, an animal rights campaigner in the 20th spot; National Unity’s Sharren Haskel (11) and Alon Tal; and Raz and Lasky of Meretz.
On Tuesday, Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu promised the ultra-Orthodox population that if he becomes prime minister, he will scrap recently increased taxes on disposable plastic.
Sue Surkes contributed to this report.