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Israeli military finally sees climate change as strategic threat

TJI Pick
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Published: 30 November 2021

Last updated: 4 March 2024

AMOS HAREL: Drought refugees, equipment failure among scenarios the military begins to consider

WHO SAYS THE Israeli military is out of step with the times? After years of hesitation and more than a few unnecessary delays, it appears as though the Israel Defence Forces is finally beginning to engage seriously with the global climate crisis and its manifold geostrategic implications: how extreme weather affects the military, on one hand, and on the other hand the military’s own contribution to climate change.

Even though these issues are rarely taken together, as part of a comprehensive, worldwide development, separately they are very familiar to the IDF as well as to the public.

Here are three simple examples: Syria’s civil war, which began, a decade ago, with protests by farmers in the south of the country against the regime, which refused to compensate them for the loss of farmland as a result of accelerated desertification; Israel Air Force planes at the Hatzerim base that were submerged in water due to faulty deployment for winter rains; environmental damage as a result of training exercises and regular operations, from wildfires in the Golan Heights to fuel spills in the Negev.

In light of the experience and knowledge of other armed forces, the IDF has begun to prepare for more severe consequences of climate change, including within Israel.

US Air Force aircraft, for example, are struggling with take-offs from bases in the Persian Gulf region, since temperatures in excess of 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) degrade the performance of cargo planes and helicopters.

One proposed remedy is to build runways partly underground. The IDF is examining the potential effect of rising sea levels on naval bases on the shore. Further warming could also impair cooling systems in battle tanks and affect their capabilities.

FULL STORY 'Israel will have to fortify its borders': Israeli military finally sees climate change as strategic threat (Haaretz)

Israel can help its poorest citizens – and the planet – with green energy (Haaretz)
MANSOUR ABBAS and YOSEF ABRAMOWITZ: Last week Israel and Jordan signed a deal under which Jordan will sell Israel solar-generated electricity and Israel will sell Jordan desalinated water. Why does sun-drenched Israel need this agreement?

Because, according to TheMarker, “Israel hasn’t met its renewable energy targets for 2020. ... One of the main reasons is the lack of open areas on which to build solar farms”.

Photo: Israeli soldiers by the Gaza Strip in the May war (Ohad Zwigenberg)

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