Israel is fortunate to have an Environmental Protection Minister who is passionate about his job. So passionate, he gave up an opportunity to work as ambassador to the UN.
Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan turned down an opportunity to represent Israel as ambassador to the United Nations, according to a Jerusalem Post report. He expressed his gratitude to both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for their confidence, but decided that Israel needs him more.
This move comes hot on the heels of a fervent campaign to re-educate Israelis about food waste with a series of billboard, television, and radio advertisements, and to instill greener habits throughout the country. Environmental agencies expressed their respect for the decision.
Mr. Erdan told the Jerusalem Post that while the country could use an upsurge in its public diplomacy, he has already initiated certain “green” programs in Israel that he would like to follow through. Making this decision was not easy, but he calls the ongoing progress in Israel “the environmental revolution,” one that is the most important thing to him.
The paper reports that Mr. Erdan is one of the Likud’s most popular cabinet members, and that eschewing the ambassadorship could put him in the running for a “plum portfolio” in the next government. Otherwise, he would have been forced to sit out the next election.
PM Netanyahu is understanding of the Minister’s decision, and promises to help him succeed at implementing the reforms. These include recycling, composting, decreasing air pollution, and developing more metropolitan parks.
And though it is uncertain who will receive the next nomination, environmental agencies are thrilled about Mr. Erdan’s decision, as it reflects a genuine commitment to what he is doing.
Amit Bracha, director-general of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam, Teva, V’din), told JPost that Erdan’s decision testifies to local and international environmental commitment, adding that given the numerous challenges Israel currently faces, Mr. Erdan’s dedication is very important.
The Society for the Protection of Nature (SPNI) argued in favor of Mr. Erdan’s fight to maintain beaches and free access to nature sites.
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