At the climate talks in Cancun, Israel’s ambassador to Mexico gave her heartfelt thanks to the nations that came to her country’s aid — including Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt — during the worst wildfire in its history, and called for climate negotiations to be driven by the “spirit of shared destiny.” After discussing the many advances the state of Israel has made in greening its economy, Ambassador Rodica Radian-Gordon addressed the threats that global warming pollution poses for her Mediterranean nation. She discussed the “terrible forest fire” that raged last week, fueled by record heat and drought, until other nations came to join the battle:
Last week, a terrible forest fire broke out in northern Israel, devastating acres of land. This was the worst wildfire Israel has experienced and resulted in loss of life, and the evacuation of thousands of people from their homes, acres of devastated forest area including a large percentage of the limited natural forests that exist in the country.
This had been the hottest and driest November on record, after years of drought, and the dry land made it impossible to extinguish the flames. Finally the fire was controlled through assistance we received from many countries in our region and as well as others, and I would like to take this opportunity to express Israel’s heartfelt thanks for the generous help received.
This international cooperation that was so needed in fighting the flames in Israel further emphasizes the significance of the global effort that is required when dealing with the challenges of climate change. This spirit of shared destiny between the peoples of this planet lies at the heart of the climate change convention. As leaders, we must do whatever it takes to reflect that spirit and by coming to an agreed outcome here in Cancun.
The devastating wildfire that ripped through Israel last week was a predicted consequence of global warming pollution. Scientists could not predict, however, how the peoples of the region would transcend their deep political and religious divides to help each other in the face of biblical destruction, building hope through solidarity on our shared planet.