Extinction Rebellion hunger strikers protest what they deem government’s lax policy on climate change; ‘my moral duty is to make sure that the government takes the climate crisis seriously,’ says protest leader

Noa Fisher 09.13.22

Four Extinction Rebellion activists went on a hunger strike on Sunday in Jerusalem in protest of the government’s policy on climate change.

The activists set up a protest tent in the Rose Garden in front of the Governmental Campus, home to the Israeli parliament and the Prime Minister’s Office among other government institutions.

פעילי המרד בהכחדה ששובתים רעב
Four Extinction Rebellion hunger strikers in Jerusalem protest government’s climate policy
(Photo: Extinction Rebellion)

The demonstration is led by Doron Goldberg, a fertility doctor from the central city Modi’in, along with climate activists Michal Deutsch, Uri Gavrielov and Liel Biran.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Yair Lapid penned by Goldberg and signed by the other protestors, he stipulated his demands for the end to the hunger strike.

“I hereby go on a hunger strike until the following conditions are met: Prime Minister Yair Lapid must consult a climate scientist on the climate crisis and its impact on Israel; the prime minister must assemble a press conference in which: he will tell the truth to the nation — the climate change is an existential threat to the people of the country and he will present the following steps — how the prime minister and the Israeli government plan on honoring the commitments that the state has undertaken to reset emissions, including the cessation of use of oil and gas and transition to renewable energies.”

מהאל השובתים של המרד בהכחדה ליד הכנסת
(Photo: Vered Eyal-Saldinger)

So far, National Camp MK Alon Tal was the only lawmaker to pay a visit to the protest tent.

“Due to the recent events in Europe — extreme heatwaves and fires — I realized that there is no time to dilly-dally, and if I don’t go on a hunger strike today, next year it will already be too late,” Goldberg told Ynet.

“I come here as a fertility doctor, and before I continue to help bring children into this world, my moral duty is to make sure that the government takes the climate crisis seriously. At the moment, it is not at the top of its priorities, more like at the bottom, and I get the impression that Israel does not intend to meet its commitment to reach zero emissions by 2050. Global warming is beyond the worst-case scenario, there is an existential threat to children, to their welfare and ultimately, to their lives as well. I’m talking about the children I’m helping to bring into the world, as well as my own three children.

מהאל השובתים של המרד בהכחדה ליד הכנסת
(Photo: Vered Eyal-Saldinger)

I am afraid of the moment the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) will say that we have reached the point of no return, and I will have to tell my patients that I am leaving my profession because I will no longer feel comfortable bringing kids into this world. I’m already preparing for it mentally because our leaders are not taking the climate crisis seriously.”

Extinction Rebellion, or XR for short, is a global enviromental movement that started in the UK in 2018 with the stated aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse.