Climate change communication and education

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1. Context

2. Climate change education and training in the country

3. Climate change communication in the country

4. Monitoring and evaluation


  1. Context

i. Climate change context

Located in the Middle East, Israel is demarcated by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, and Egypt to the southwest. According to the country’s Third National Communication (2018), its total area is 22,072 km2, 97.6% of which is land and 2.4% water (the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea). The World Bank (2021) records the population of Israel as 9.4 million people, of which 91% live in urban localities. Approximately 40% of the population live in the Tel Aviv District and the adjacent central district, both comprising less than 7% of the country’s total land area.

According to The World Bank, Israel is vulnerable to a number of climate change effects, in particular rising temperatures; more frequent, severe and longer heat waves; a reduction in precipitation; and an increase in the probability of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods. According to the Israel Meteorological Service, the rate of global warming in Israel is almost two times greater than the global rate. In addition, Israel’s coastline is vulnerable to rising sea levels, coastal erosion, coastal flooding and instability of the sandstone cliffs.

The Global Carbon Atlas reports that Israel is a high-emitting country, with emissions of around 6.1 t CO2 per person in 2020. Israel’s Third National Communication (2018) states that as of 2015, the largest emitting sectors were energy industries (61.8%), transport (26.2%), manufacturing and construction (7.3%) other sectors (1.2%), and the rest to waste.

Israel joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a Non-Annex-I party. The country signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2004 and the Paris Agreement in 2016. Israel has not signed the Doha Amendment.

ii. Relevant government agencies 

Climate change

Various governmental agencies are involved in implementing programmes aimed at addressing climate change, enhancing environmental quality, appreciating and preserving biodiversity, mitigating the effects of industrial pollution, and safeguarding against desertification.

A key government agency is the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which works to enhance nature conservation and public health by promoting laws, regulations and standards, and supervising their implementation and enforcement. The ministry also works in line with binding international treaties. Responsibilities include air quality treatment, waste management, supervision of hazardous materials, and the protection of natural resources and the marine environment. The Ministry of Environmental Protection operates at the national, district and local levels through environmental units that implement environmental policies and advise the local authorities on environmental protection issues.

There are other secretariats under the ministry’s jurisdiction that are responsible for related activities. For instance, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the company for environmental services support the government’s work in environmental and climate action, both nationally and internationally.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority is aiming for a comprehensive policy of open-space management and the creation of ecological corridors. The authority works to preserve species by supporting and saving endangered local species and dealing with invasive species. The company for environmental services manages all hazardous waste produced in Israel, while maintaining and protecting the quality of the environment. The activities of these two key secretariats include policy-making, planning, monitoring, communication and public relations. At the time of writing this review, Israel had not designated a National Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Focal Point.

There are another 49 work units withing the Ministry of Environmental Protection that work with the implementation of the ministry’s policies and action plans. These include: the air quality and climate change unit, the natural resources and climate resilience cluster, the policy and strategy planning cluster, the education and community unit, the environmental policy and strategy unit, the waste and recycling unit, the open spaces and biodiversity unit, local government and environmental units, and environmental planning.

The Ministry of Education is responsible for all levels of the education system. This includes kindergartens; primary and secondary schools; higher education institutions; and informal education institutions that provide social, ethical and community education. The ministry works with the Ministry of Environmental Protection in accordance with its policy on climate change.

The Ministry of Energy is entrusted with the planning and execution of the national policy related to energy and natural resources infrastructure. This includes planning the development of the energy economy; determining policy and overseeing its implementation; supervising the fuel economy, the natural gas economy, the water economy and the electricity economy; regulating oil and gas exploration; optimizing the use of energy; developing alternative energy sources; and preparing the energy economy for emergencies.

The Ministry of Energy has recently been emphasizing the transition to clean energy and promoting the removal of barriers to renewable energies and energy efficiency in all sectors. According to the report on the energy sector in Israel (2020) produced by the Ministry of Energy, most of Israel’s energy sources (56%) are provided through petroleum distillates, especially in transportation and natural gas, and mainly for industry and electricity. Coal is still used to produce electricity, but the Ministry of Energy is working to reduce its use, which is expected to end in 2026. Renewable energy is becoming an increasingly significant energy source, and the ministry is working hard to promote it.

Due to Israel’s extensive coastline, there is a strong focus on marine protection. In line with the Maritime Policy and Vision for Israel’s Mediterranean Waters, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority coordinates policies for protecting, planning, and managing the marine area. It does this mainly by promoting the declaration of marine nature reserves and preserving nature's values. The Israel Maritime Conference started in 2021. Stakeholders and participants of the conference include the University of Haifa Maritime Policy & Strategy Research Center, the Israel Innovation Authority, the Israeli National Center of Blue Economy, and the Israel Ports Company.

The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology invests in scientific research and functions as a link between academic research and industrial development. It plays a large role in designing and leading research projects and developing government policy.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development works on policies and initiatives related to climate change. This includes: developing innovative technologies for food production to deal with climate change; promoting ‘food security’ in the context of climate change (formalized by a signed agreement of understanding between Israel and the United States for research cooperation in the aquaculture field); and joining the International Treaty for the Conservation of Genetic Diversity for Purposes of Plant Food Production in the context of climate change. In addition, the ministry aims to fund the insurance premiums farmers need for coverage against climate change-related damage. US $65 million has been allocated for this. The objective is to motivate farmers to continue taking out insurance policies, thereby safeguarding uninterrupted food production.

The Ministry of Economy and Industry is also working on climate change scenarios in many areas, including agriculture, public health, coastal protection, energy and species diversity.

Municipal-level government is also engaged in climate change, with cities and towns outlining their municipal strategies for adaptation to climate change in line with the guidelines for preparing a local action plan for preparing for climate change and sustainable energy.

The Central Bureau of Statistics produces, tracks and collects statistical information. The bureau publishes results on the population and its activities in fields including society, health, economy, commerce and industry, as well as the state of the country’s natural resources. The bureau also monitors the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include SDG 13, which covers climate change and its impacts and relevant action to combat it.

The Environmental Health Department, operating within the Ministry of Health, addresses all issues related to human health, including quality of life. Factors affecting quality of life include sanitation and environmental conditions, as well as physical, chemical, biological, social and psychosocial elements. The department conducts assessments to identify potential hazards stemming from factors that may pose health risks to both current and future generations, and it takes measures to address them. The department is involved in formulating the ministry’s policies on environmental health, establishing regulatory frameworks, participating in regional planning initiatives, actively supervising sanitation practices, and monitoring the activities of relevant organizations.

Education and communication

According to the compulsory education law (2016), Israel's Ministry of Education is responsible for setting and overseeing the implementation of: the national education policy for all sectors, including preschool education, primary and secondary education, and out-of-school education; and the national policy for youth and sports. Units such as the Pedagogical Secretariat, Technological Education Administration, Religious Education Administration, and Digital Technologies Administration report to the Ministry of Education and implement policies for preschool education and primary and secondary education that cover all subjects of study. Within this framework, the Ministry of Education promotes environmental education and, as of 2022, climate change education.

The Council for Higher Education is the official higher education authority and determines the policy of the higher education system. According to Israel’s Third National Communication (2018), studying opportunities in the fields of the environment and sustainability are growing at all major universities and colleges.

Starting from the 2022-2023 academic year, a climate change education programme with content adapted to different age groups, was introduced in the curriculum for all age groups.

An environmental education coordinator is appointed in every district overseen by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The coordinator spearheads collaborative initiatives with educational institutions, arranges environmental events and activities, and oversees the activities of local authority environmental education centres.

The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology runs nine central divisions engaged in scientific research in areas of national priority: the Chief Scientist Office; the Science Infrastructure Programme; the Israel Space Agency; the Science and Community Department, which includes eight regional research and development centres; International Scientific Relations; the National Council for Civil Research and Development; the National Council for the Advancement of Women in Science; and the Administrative Headquarters.

iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans 

Climate change

Israel has multiple laws, policies and plans on climate change that acknowledge the significance of environmental preservation for the benefit of current and future generations.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection states that ‘the ministry works to protect the environment and public health by promoting laws, regulations and standards and supervising their implementation and enforcement’, notably:

The Waste Collection and Removal for Recycling Law (1993) mandates the Ministry of Environmental Protection to establish regulations and orders, including regulations that set recycling targets. Under the law, the Waste Collection and Disposal Regulations (1998) were established, which state that local authorities must act to reduce the waste that is produced in their area and sent to landfill.

The 2011 Law on the Protection and Preservation of the Environment is the legal framework that establishes general rules and principles of national policy for environmental protection and improvement. The law aims to protect and maintain appropriate levels of environmental quality, improve the environment and public health, and prevent any potentially harmful activities. The law does not mention climate change.

In 2017, the Israeli Government launched a zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050’ decision that raises the target for reducing carbon emissions to zero emissions by 2050. To comply with this, the substantial work in this area included Resolution No. 171 (2021), whereby the government formally recognized the importance of reaching this goal. The programme focuses on sectors and areas such as transportation, energy, construction, industry, commerce and waste management. However, regarding progress at the level of tackling climate change, according to the National Climate Action by the Government of Israel (2021) report, Israel has yet to make the necessary shift. A Performance Review (2023) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Israel reported that the country is not on track to reach its climate change targets.

Also in 2017, Decision No. 4079 addressed Israel's preparedness to adapt to climate change: implementing recommendations for a strategy and a national action plan. This decision instructs the executive committee, chaired by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, to prepare a national plan for preparing and adapting to climate change.

Following various initiatives on climate change, the Israeli Government signed Resolution 4079 (2018) (following resolutions 474 and 1504). This deals with Israel's preparation to adapt to climate change, highlighting the implementation of the recommendations to the government for a national strategy and action plan. Goals include: i) reducing damage to people and property and building economic resilience; ii) taking measures to increase the resilience of ecological systems; iii) building and updating the scientific knowledge base for decision-making; and iv) education and raising awareness by making knowledge accessible to decision-makers and the public.

The national ‘Change of Direction’ programme is an action plan for the government and local government officials launched by the Israeli president (2020). The programme calls on decision-makers to change direction where necessary to meet their responsibilities relating to the climate crisis.

Following Decision No. 4079, the Ministry of Environmental Protection published the National Action Plan on Climate Change (2022-2026) for further addressing and preparing for climate change. This plan outlines responsibilities and actions for all government ministries.

Complementary to this plan, the Ministry of Environmental Protection published the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s Work Plan (2022). This is a shorter-term plan to meet the initial challenges on the journey towards attaining carbon neutrality. The work plan covers key issues such as the restoration and preservation of natural systems; a recycling revolution; transition to a circular economy; improving the state of the environment in Arab society; and strengthening environmental standards and adapting them to international standards. There is also a plan to implement sustainable development principles and for the education system to include the promotion of a sustainable lifestyle. Concrete actions for reaching this target are creating climate leadership among youth movements and organizations, training education teams on climate content, and promoting climate-related educational and awareness activities in the education system and the community.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has developed work plans such as the Climate Change Preparedness Plan (2020), the Report on the State of Israel’s Preparedness for Climate Change (2021) and the Guide for Preparing a Local Action Plan (2022) to support preparations for dealing with climate change and the use of sustainable energy. These programmes provide adaptation guidelines and relevant adjustments to national policy.

The Israeli Climate Law has been submitted to legislators several times by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, with the most recent iteration in February 2023. The law aims to make Israel carbon neutral by 2050 and sets a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2030. If promulgated, the law will provide a comprehensive framework for dealing with the climate crisis. At the time of this review, this had not yet happened.

Education and communication

Environmental education in Israel is based mainly on the 246 government resolution (2003) regarding a strategic plan for sustainable development, following the UN resolutions at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002). Accordingly, the Ministry of Education began to integrate education for sustainable development in the education system in the first decade of the 2000s.

The Ministry of Education’s policy on environmental education is based on the 246 government resolution (2003). This led to the establishment of a steering team in the Ministry of Education to develop a strategy for sustainability. The Ministry of Education published a general director's circular (2004), which gives guidelines for implementing a decision based on the principles of Agenda 21. The circular specifies ways to integrate environmental education and education or sustainable development in kindergartens, and elementary, middle and high schools.

The Ministry of Education published another general director's circular (2008) detailing steps to continue giving guidance on implementing environmental education, including holding educational activities on sustainable development in schools, the principles of sustainable development and including it in relevant parts of the curricula.

A joint steering committee for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Environmental Protection was set up to promote ‘Education for sustainability as a fabric of life.’ The programme is designed to integrate sustainability education into kindergartens and all levels of school. It is based on the principle that values and behavioural norms that support a sustainable lifestyle can only be learned and expressed through a combination of learning and action for the environment.

Updates to the general director's circular (2008) were released in 2011. The latest update instructs all educational institutions to act to raise awareness about environmental problems by training the educational and administrative staff, developing a curriculum to integrate aspects of sustainability education, and adopting environmental practices that lead to a sustainable lifestyle. There is no reference to climate change in the document.

The environmental education review report in Israel (2020) reflects the fact that environmental and sustainability education in Israel is not defined as a standalone discipline. Rather, it is covered broadly and aspects are integrated in elementary and middle schools into disciplines such as science and technology, agriculture and geography, language and citizenship. At the high-school level, there are elective subjects that go into the issues in greater depth.

Since 2015, the Ministry of Education has been working with the Ministry of Environmental Protection to promote reform in climate change education. Measures include establishing dedicated multi-professional and multi-sector teams at the headquarters of the Ministry of Education, in cooperation with representatives of civil society, academic experts, and environmental and activist organizations. In 2022, a declaration on a joint climate change education programme (2022) was agreed between the two ministries. The plan includes designating climate change as a mandatory learning area from kindergarten right through to the end of secondary school.

The goals of the climate change education programme (2022) are to: develop and establish knowledge, values and skills while dealing directly with climate change; develop a multi-systemic and multi-dimensional concept of climate change at the local and global level; foster student self-expression and agency through innovation projects in relation to climate change challenges; undertake initiatives that have a beneficial effect on the environment and society; develop personal and social resilience; develop skills for action; and prepare for situations of devastating climate events.

Within the framework of: the programme for the advancement of flag bearers in the fields of research infrastructures, human capital for research, sustainability and climate, science parks adjacent to campus, and human capital for high-tech (2022), the Council for Higher Education promotes a flagship programme that focuses on sustainability and the climate. The aim is to encourage innovative and multidisciplinary research on contemporary global challenges. There are five focal areas: energy and dealing with climate change; food, agriculture, biodiversity conservation and the use of natural resources; sea and water sciences; transportation and smart cities; and society and sustainability, which includes sustainability education.

The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology leads certain climate change-related activities related, such as the establishment of a national knowledge centreDesertech’, with an emphasis on the desert environment. The aims of the centre are to establish infrastructure for scientific research on climate change with an emphasis on the desert environment; to make information accessible to all researchers in the country; and to increase cooperation between different institutions and sectors.

In 2022 the Israeli Government approved the initiative to establish a national climate calculation centre, that would be a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The initiative would make it possible to predict accurately and in detail the effects of global warming on different regions of the country. This centre aims to strengthen climate research and establish an open database of detailed climate forecasts.

Also in 2022, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology awarded financial grants for ground-breaking applied research in a variety of disciplines, including climate change preparedness.

iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication

Most of Israel's specific climate change policies refer to climate change communication and education in terms of ‘environmental education’, ‘environmental conservation’ or ‘education for sustainable development’. With the adoption of Resolution 4079 (2018), reference to climate change became more direct:

The State of Israel recognizes the occurrence of global climate changes and the need to prepare for them, including the establishment of a National Preparedness Directorate. This follows a broad global consensus and the strengthening of scientific evidence that climate change is occurring, and that each of the last three decades has been warmer on Earth than the previous decades, starting in 1850. (p. 9)

Based on the report on environmental education in the educational system in Israel (2020), and within the framework of the 246 government resolution (2003)that calls for a strategic plan for sustainable development, the Ministry of Education was tasked with integrating the principles of sustainable development and environmental education into the curricula of natural sciences and the social sciences, and the activities of educational institutions. It published a circular entitled ‘Implementation of Education for Sustainable Development in the Education System’ (2004), which includes guidelines for how to integrate the themes into the education system. The circular makes reference to ‘sustainable development’, ‘sustainability’, ‘environmental literacy’ and ‘environmental education’.

Another later circular (2008, 2011) outlines the necessary steps for continuing the implementation of education for sustainable development. This document makes reference to ‘sustainable development’, ‘the balance between society, economy and the environment’, ‘economical and efficient management of natural resources’, and ‘reducing environmental pollution’.

In response to the United Nations report on climate change communication and education, Israel has adopted the language of ‘adaptation’, ‘mitigation’ and ‘resilience’ in the various systems. For example, Israel’s Third National Communication (2018) states: ‘Israel is in the midst of developing a set of indicators that will help formulate and implement a national plan for adaptation to climate change’ (p. 80).

The new climate change education programme for all age groups and all sectors came into effect in the 2022-2023 academic year. The plan addresses climate change and its consequences and includes the terms ‘greenhouse gases’, ‘climate crisis’, ‘carbon’ and ‘climate change’.

v. Budget for climate change education and communication

Within the 2023 state budget, the budget of the Ministry of Environmental Protection is US $95 million. The ministry will focus on wide-ranging issues such as: waste management and transition to a circular waste economy; climate resilience and transition to a zero-emissions economy; and supervision of the business sector at the environmental level; combating the climate crisis; the protection of nature; and the promotion of sustainable urbanism.

According to the World Bank, in 2020 Israel allocated around 7.1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) to education, but did not specify the allocation for climate change communication and education.

The budget plan of the Ministry of Education shows priority areas for the coming year to be: reducing gaps and increasing equal opportunities; building classrooms and kindergartens; and expanding pedagogical infrastructure, supervision and control in early childhood. The budget plan for 2023 does not specifically refer to climate change education.

Between 2016 and 2020, the budget allocated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to promote environmental education has almost doubled, from US $5.6 million to US $10.8 million.

Within the framework of the five-year plan, the Ministry of Environmental Protection formulated a specific plan for ultra-Orthodox Israeli society, focusing on the assimilation of environmental and climate change content into the education system and the community in ways that are appropriate to its worldview and lifestyle. Educational tools will be developed and adapted, teacher- training curricula will be developed, and resources allocated to extend the learning about climate change to ultra-Orthodox communities.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection allocates US $210,000 to provide support to youth organizations aspiring to establish officially recognized ‘green branches. These branches are then mandated to establish green committees, incorporate environmental principles into their programmes, provide training to their counsellors on environmental matters, and promote active citizenship for the betterment of their communities. Since its establishment in 2012, more than 650 youth movement branches have received assistance through the ‘green branches’ programme.

  1. Climate change education and training in the country

i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education 

Israel has a system of free compulsory education for students from the ages 3 to 18 years. The Ministry of Education and its units oversee the education system. The curricula are formulated by the Pedagogical Secretariat of the Ministry of Education, the country’s highest pedagogical authority.

The overarching goals of education in Israel are focused on nurturing students who will graduate to have a moral compass, have the knowledge and skills to shape their identity, develop as independent and educated individuals with emotional and social resilience, and exercise their abilities with a sense of meaning and contribute to the State of Israel, society and the community.

Israel's preparation plan for adapting to climate change (2017) states that:

The State of Israel acknowledges the occurrence of global climate change and understands the need to prepare for it. The State of Israel will work to adapt to climate change by reducing potential damages and taking advantage of possible opportunities and benefits related to climate change. (p. 114)

Key goals of the preparation plan for adapting to climate change are education, raising awareness, and making knowledge accessible to decision-makers and the public. Environmental education is seen as the most effective way of solving environmental problems in the long term. It also acknowledges that although many people are aware of global warming, it can be difficult to motivate them to take action. Programmes in schools have the power to influence students to communicate messages to their families and the local community about proactively tackling environmental problems.

In 2009, the ministries of Education and Environmental Protection embarked on a cooperative effort to introduce the concept of sustainability across the entire educational spectrum, spanning early childhood education to secondary school. This is regarded as an important initiative, as it encourages engagement in environmental issues while fostering community connectedness.

According to the climate change education programme, starting in the 2022-2023 academic year, climate change is included as a mandatory field of study from kindergarten to the 12th grade of secondary school, in an age-appropriate manner. According to the plan of the Ministry of Education, the study of the subject is integrated into independent key units as part of the mandatory curriculum.

The curriculum for environmental education in pre-primary education is designed to stimulate thinking in children about their immediate environment and how they interact with it on a daily basis.

In the primary education curriculum, climate change is an independent discipline and contains diverse age-appropriate content ranging from energy sources, extreme climate events, air pollution, sustainability and energy conservation.

The middle school curriculum includes climate change as a stand-alone discipline and is also integrated into other disciplines such as science and technology, geography and social education. Specific topics are integrated into the disciplines, such as global warming, ecological footprint, extreme climate events, sustainability, the energy crisis, alternative energies and environmental responsibility.

The high school curriculum covers climate change as an independent subject while also including it in other disciplines, where appropriate. Subjects are studied based on the spiral model, with a deeper exploration of climate change issues at this level. These include: ecological systems and human-environment relations; environmental ethics; environmental management and planning; the discourse on climate change in the public sphere; ways of dealing with climate change; and familiarization with climate models, forecasts and scenarios.

As part of the climate change education programme (2022), kindergarten children will participate in the ‘Take the Trash with You’ project, where children learn to take responsibility for their rubbish and not leave it in public areas. They learn about the relationship between consumption and waste.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Ministry of Education lead certification processes for ‘green kindergartens’. The certification for a green garden is the basis for sustainability education from a young age and places a strong emphasis on environmental conservation and sustainability. The preschools often participate in community events, raising awareness and encouraging positive lifestyle changes. As of 2019, there were 403 officially certified green kindergartens.

The National Action Plan on Climate Change (2022-2026) mandates the formulation of a multidisciplinary plan for climate education in the formal education system. Local authorities are also supported to run programmes across the education system and in the Informal education system. They provide support for training managers, advisors, and youth movement members and organizations.

In the formal education system, the key actions emanating from the National Action Plan on Climate Change (2022-2026) are organizing training workshops on climate within the framework of continuing professional education programmes for teaching personnel; running certification programmes for kindergartens, schools and green campuses; and creating an online system for lessons. In 2023 the focus is on developing multidisciplinary lessons on climate change as part of the curricula.

Since Israel’s Third National Communication (2018) there has been an increase in environmental education being included in the curriculum from kindergarten to high school. There is greater educational capacity and interest in sustainability in the educational system, which is reflected in diverse initiatives. For example, the Green School Certification is a certification process to encourage schools to not only teach environmental subjects but also to act sustainably by conserving resources and promoting eco-efficiency. Green school certification results in significant improvements in the school environment. These have been noted in the general school atmosphere, educational achievements, community integration, waste reduction, cleanliness, cost savings, environmental awareness, branding and global connections. By 2020, Israel had 1,200 accredited green schools, highlighting the growing adoption of eco-conscious practices within the educational sector.

Another initiative is the Environmental Leadership programme for youth, whose purpose is to promote with a variety of activities and dialogues. The Integrated Plan for Sustainability Education in elementary schools covers environmental content relating to animals, plants, streams and marine space. The ‘Working Together on Energy’ was developed for 1st-9th grade students to change thinking and and behaviour about energy consumption, so that students can make an impact in their communities at the appropriate level.

ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources

Teachers in Israel have options for continuing training through the Professional Development Division of the Ministry of Education. The division is responsible for teachers’ professional development, offering opportunities to expand their professional knowledge and strengthen teaching skills.

The main branches of the Professional Development Division are 66 Teacher training centres spread across the country. The centres provide for teacher development in cooperation with other stakeholders such as district authorities. These institutions deliver different learning frameworks for professional development, in centres and in schools.

One of the main tasks of the work plan of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (2022) is training education teams on climate matters. In the 2021-2022 academic year 265 teacher and kindergarten training courses on climate change and the environment were conducted.

Other organizations collaborate with the Ministry of Education and academic institutions, offering teacher training on climate change. For example, "Beyadeinu" the National Centre for Environmental and Sustainability Education, provides professional development for teachers for addressing climate change. Training is provided by experts in environmental research and practice.

The Green Network is an organization that deals with education for sustainable development and strives for environmental and social change. It offers development and training for education teams such as pedagogical innovation in the era of climate change, the development of green spaces, and the Climate Generation seminar.

The climate change education programme (2022) recognizes the importance of teacher development as well as appropriate teaching material. The programme includes references to study materials and enrichment that have been collated in the document Recommendation for the integration of climate change in the various disciplines. These include activities related to energy sources; air pollution; human involvement in the elements of the environment; the environmental crisis and the ecological footprint; ‘climate change – from warming to extremism; and climate change as a multidisciplinary issue.

The climate change education programme covers recommendations for teachers for integrating climate change into different fields of knowledge. It includes proposals for classes, activities and presentations. The documents cover elementary school, middle school and high school education.

Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) together with the MASHAV Educational Training Centre (the METC) invites professionals to participate in an international course called Climate Change Education Strategies in Primary Schools and High Schools. The course covers projects that seek to bring about the social transformation necessary to address issues of equity, such as poverty, responsible consumption, energy use, transportation, social discrimination, and human rights challenges that are aggravated by climate change.

iii. Climate change in higher education

The Council for Higher Education is the official authority for higher education and determines policy for the higher education system. The council controls 58 academic institutions including universities, colleges and the Open University. According to Israel’s Third National Communication (2018), higher education opportunities in the field of the environment and sustainability continue to grow. All major universities and colleges offer graduate or undergraduate programmes in environmental studies and environmental management.

Higher education institutions, including teacher training colleges, play a pivotal role in leading and promoting awareness of environmental and sustainability issues. Recognizing the students of today are the leaders and citizens who will have to face the challenges of climate change well into the future, a number of initiatives have been developed. The Green Campuses certification, for example, has been defined as one way of advancing environmental and sustainability concerns within higher education. It includes the call for efficient resource management, including water, electricity, paper, and biodegradable materials, which has resulted in a noteworthy reduction in consumption on college campuses. This has not only led to cost savings but also contributed to a smaller carbon footprint.

The Israeli Climate Change Information Centre (ICCIC) is a knowledge hub established by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and founded at the University of Haifa in collaboration with Tel Aviv University, the Technion and The Samuel Neaman Institute. The main aim is to establish a national scientific knowledge base that underpins the national adaptation plan. It achieves this by gathering and integrating existing research and policy documents on climate change adaptation, identifying knowledge gaps, assessing climate change risks and consequences, and proposing a national adaptation policy.

The IDC Herzliya School of Sustainability offers bachelor degree programmes in sustainability such as double majors in governance and sustainability and in economics and sustainability. The plans are based on the significant changes that have taken place in recent years in the Israeli environment, economy and society, and globally, and include issues such as the need for a balanced policy on environmental, social and economic issues in the international arena.

The Arava Institute is an academic and research centre for environmental leadership in the Middle East. By partnering with Ben Gurion University, the institute offers a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, in addition to running a number of research programmes and international cooperation initiatives. With a student body composed of Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis, and students from all over the world, the institute provides the opportunity to learn from leading professionals to solve the most pressing current environmental challenges specifically regarding climate change.

The Advanced School for Environmental Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem focuses on training top-level researchers and professionals to address current and future environmental issues within Israel and globally. The school runs a variety of graduate programmes in environmental studies, focusing on topics such as policy, health and the environment, and resource management.

The University of Haifa is a leading research facility in a variety of environmental sciences and related fields. These include academic programmes and special laboratories such as the GIS laboratory, and the climate laboratory that has a meteorological station. Within the Faculty of Social Science, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management offers various programmes, including courses on climate change. The Natural Resources and Environmental Research Centre (NRERC) at the University of Haifa conducts extensive research in environmental resource management, covering themes such as water and air quality, solid waste, noise pollution, preservation of natural areas; and in natural resource management, covering areas such as water, energy and minerals. The NRERC is a leading stakeholder in The Israel Climate Change Information Center (ICCIC), which is responsible for producing policy papers on climate change adaptation commissioned by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Tel Aviv University has taken the lead in environmental and biodiversity research in Israel. Through collaborations with government bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the university promotes the advancement of knowledge, technology and education to nurture the next generation of environmental leaders. The PlanNet Zero Climate Initiative, which includes researchers from various units and partners from private industry and government sectors, is dedicated to pioneering innovative solutions for addressing climate change. The Porter School of Environmental Studies is dedicated to the research, teaching and sharing of environmental knowledge in Israel. The school offers programmes with an environmental emphasis so that graduates acquire tools to undertake a multidisciplinary approach to Israel's biggest climate challenges. There are also postgraduate programmes in renewable energy, climate change, air pollution and environmental justice.

The Master’s of Environmental Education at the Kibbutzim College of Education provides training for environmental educators in elementary and secondary schools. It offers courses on diverse aspects of environmental education, raising awareness of environmental issues, and training. The programme includes a broad reference to climate change in the mandatory courses.

The Goldman Sonnenfeldt School of Sustainability and Climate Change at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev offers programmes in sustainability studies covering areas such as social policy, global sustainability and renewable natural resources.

Since 2019, the Israel Democracy Institute has been partnering with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and other government ministries to lead the country's shift towards a low- or zero-emissions economy. This collaborative effort places a strong emphasis on essential actions for climate preparedness, reducing emissions and embracing green technologies. A key component is the inclusion of stakeholders from diverse ministries and economic sectors. The engagement is facilitated through working groups, conferences and the provision of expert support, including economic modelling and policy research.

iv. Climate change in training and adult learning 

According to Israel’s Third National Communication (2018): ‘As the environmental education sector is expanding, the demand for environmental educators has also increased’ (p.97). Thus, training programmes provide a knowledge base for educating students about environmental issues and incorporating sustainability practices across the disciplines.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection developed a number of training programmes between 2016 and 2017 to build knowledge capacity for experts and other professionals in government and other sectors. These include:

The Ministry of Health offers environmental health training to professionals in different water-related sectors. The goal of this training is to sharpen their expertise. The training covers a range of topics, including sampling of drinking water, system maintenance, operation of swimming pools, wastewater management, and more.

The Heschel Sustainability Center offers a unique programme designed to train entrepreneurial leaders form various fields. The students work together to devise environmental community projects such as campaigns to save open natural areas and endangered species. To date, more than 450 graduates of the programme are working in the media, business, the public sector, academia, civil society organizations and government.

The Israeli Green Building Council, founded in 2009, aims to offer green building education to architects and builders and to create a rating tool for effecting real change in construction. The council is committed to the development of professionals in green construction and sustainable planning. It offers training programmes and courses in green building certification, urban agriculture, and a green building toolbox for architects and construction workers. It works with thousands of participants every year, as well as providing consulting services to private organizations, local authorities and NGOs.

A special energy efficiency training course for individuals with disabilities was introduced in 2012 by the Ministry of Energy in collaboration with the American Jewish Joint Distribution. The ministry identified that households of people with disabilities consume, on average, 75% more electricity than the overall average consumption in Israeli households. The courses were specifically tailored to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to conserve energy in their homes and immediate environments.

  1. Climate change communication in the country

i. Climate change and public awareness 

According to Israel’s Third National Communication (2018), among the active environmental NGOs in Israel, the most common operational activity is environmental education and public awareness and the number of environmental NGOs in Israel continues to rise. For instance, Life and Environment– Israeli Union of Environmental NGOs is an umbrella organization that represents and serves over 120 associations. Many of these associations conduct their own education and public awareness initiatives, contributing to the growing scope and reach of the environmental movement. Some are highlighted here:

Zalul is one of Israel’s leading environmental NGOs, dedicated to protecting the seas and rivers of Israel. The organization engages in conservation efforts, activism and raising awareness for research and education. Through educational initiatives, Zalul aims to make water preservation and environmental protection priorities among the Israeli public. To this end, it advocates for the termination of diving activities in the Kishon River, the establishment of sewage treatment facilities throughout the country, and positively influencing legislative changes in relation to sea and water-related issues.

EcoPeace is an advocacy organization that seeks to build transboundary efforts to protect shared environmental resources. The group addresses the lack of sewage treatment, aquifer overuse, and diversion of water that threatens already scarce water resources.

Israel's Preparedness to Adapt to Climate Change (2017) calls for an advertising campaign to encourage behavioural changes such as lowering the air conditioning temperature, shading windows and other practical actions. It acknowledges the role of the mass media in raising public awareness about the need to save energy, climate change and relevant government programmes that are addressing the issue.

Related to this, Israel’s Third National Communication (2018) states that public campaigns can impact human behaviour in areas such as water conservation, recycling and smart consumption.

The following are examples of successful recent national awareness run by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which has been particularly effective:

From 2010-2012 the Ministry of Environmental Protection ran a campaign dealing with topics such as saving paper, saving fuel, lowering food consumption and smart consumption, electricity-saving, waste separation and green building. The campaign included commercials on television and through radio and newspaper advertisements. A survey conducted after the campaign found that 66-81% of the respondents understood the message, and 79-85% of the respondents thought the campaign was unforgettable (compared to 61% of campaigns in general). On a scale of 1–10, the respondents rate the importance of the issue between 7.6–8 (compared to 7.2, which is the average in campaigns).

Israel’s Third National Communication (2018) makes reference to other campaigns. Starting in 2012 the Israeli Government began placing colourful recycling cages in the streets. Coupled with educational videos about how to sort recyclables into different coloured bins, the campaign is aimed primarily at children. Apart from improvements to infrastructure, the campaign has seen a huge increase in plastic bottle recycling. The recycling of bottles has significantly reduced GHG emissions and saved Israel over 500,000 tons of waste that would have ended up in landfills.

In 2013, the Israeli Government launched a widespread television advertisement campaign that Israel was ‘drying out’, as specified in the Third National Communication. The campaign was launched during a severe water crisis when water tariffs were rising and water supplies to agriculture were being rationed. The television advertisements were accompanied by the distribution of low-flow water aerators.

ii. Climate change and public access to information 

In Israel it is mandated by law to ensure that information is accessible to the public. According to the Freedom of Information law (1998), every Israeli citizen or resident has the right to receive information from public authorities.

In addition, a regulation of the Law of Freedom of Information – Environmental Data, which establishes citizens’ right to receive information and data, such as: the materials that have been emitted, disposed of or thrown into the environment; noise levels; odour; and radiation measurements.

Public access to climate change information is decentralized and involves a wide range of stakeholders with diverse interests. The Ministry of Environmental Protection is the leading entity responsible for ensuring public access to information and includes a section on climate change on its website. This provides extensive information that is available to the public. The information contains a list of relevant terms on the climate crisis detailing the different national and international conventions, basic concepts related to climate change, and related actions. The site also gathers information about all Israel’s partnerships in relation to climate change; and the policies and procedures, news and activities promoted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and appeals to take part in the activities of reporting and reducing greenhouse gasses.

There are a number of platforms for sharing climate change information. The Ministry of Environmental Protection established the Israeli Climate Change Information Center (2011) at the University of Haifa. One of the goals is to develop and make available knowledge related to climate change, as well as the related risks and consequences. The website is a platform for the scientific community and the general public. The Israeli Meteorological Service provides climate information, such as an analysis of future trends of climate change in Israel, a review of extreme weather events, temperature change trends, and climate adaptations information.

The Central Bureau of Statistics compiles and shares environmental statistics to facilitate the general understanding of Israel's environmental situation, including climate change. Data include statistics covering the scope of emissions, air pollutants, greenhouse gasses and waste, actions to reduce emissions, as well as historical data on biodiversity.

As reported in the National Action Plan on Climate Change (2022-2026), one of the main goals is to promote the accessibility of education, awareness, and information concerning the climate crisis and the vital steps required for adaptation. This includes constructing an all-encompassing programme that is tailored to meet the needs of both the general public and specific target groups.

iii. Climate change and public participation 

The National Action Plan on Climate Change (2022-2026) set a goal for educational systems that also include the broader public:

Ensure access to education, knowledge and information on the climate crisis and the steps necessary for coping. Preparation of a program on the climate crisis and its integration into the formal and informal education systems, as well as for the general public (p.19)

This includes key actions such as implementing publicity initiatives to engage the community and decision-makers, participating in climate-change marches, carrying out ongoing awareness-raising activities, and providing support for environmental and climate leadership. Public participation in environmental protection happens through information campaigns; education; and supporting the actions of local authorities, public institutions and organizations engaged in promoting environmental protection.

The work plan of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (2022) emphasizes the promotion of activities in the education system and the community. In 2021 and 2022, approximately 100 groups of residents worked with the local authorities to promote the protection of the environment and prepare to deal with the climate crisis through activities such as promoting walkability, and bicycle travel and shared trips; preserving trees; promoting green spaces; and reducing consumption.

The collaboration between Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Education, and Youth Movement Council empowers young individuals through initiatives aimed at promoting sustainability. These include the creation of eco-friendly branches within youth movements, the training of leaders in environmental matters, the provision of green movement certification, financial assistance, and the distribution of educational materials. With the participation of over 350,000 individuals, this collaborative effort contributes to shaping a more sustainable future.

At Israel’s Third National Communication (2018) it was noted that Israel faces the challenges of climate change and social justice and how they are interconnected. The Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Heschel Center for Sustainability and the Gvanim Association have collaborated to foster a sustainable lifestyle among vulnerable populations like the elderly, the poor and disadvantaged youth. Twelve sustainability centres that create environmental awareness through activities, housing committees, schools and community gardens have been created. As these are often the population groups that are affected by environmental problems first, special environmental education programmes are designed for them.

Stakeholders such as the Society for the Protection of Nature promote citizen participation through different initiatives. The association states that it promotes Israel’s addressing of the climate crisis mainly through encouraging public participation.

National Cleanup Day, which is held annually on the last Tuesday of the Hebrew month of Adar, aims to raise awareness about environmental protection and the need for clean public spaces. Instituted by the Maintenance of Cleanliness Law, on the day, schools, youth movements, local authorities and the military engage in educational activities and clean-up efforts, emphasizing the importance environmental responsibility and social engagement. The Ministry of Environmental Protection funds the initiative.

  1. Monitoring and evaluation

i. Country monitoring 

As of November 2023, no particular ministry or agency in Israel had been designated for the monitoring of climate change communication and education. Instead, multiple government entities and international organizations gather data to facilitate monitoring and reporting on climate change in the country.

According to the Third National Communication (2018), Israel is currently engaged in the establishment of a comprehensive national monitoring, reporting and verification system to facilitate the following objectives: assess the nation's advancement towards attaining its mitigation objectives; evaluate the effectiveness of government policies and measures aimed at greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction; revise and enhance policy actions to optimize both economic and environmental benefits; fulfil national reporting obligations to the United Nations regarding mitigation efforts; and ensure the availability of transparent information on Israel's progress in achieving its emission reduction goals. There is no specific reference to climate change education and communication.

Each ministry thus examines the implementation of the preparedness plan in its field, referring to its adaptation plan. In 2018 a Climate Change Preparedness Administration was established to take charge of inter-ministerial coordination and monitoring the implementation of the national strategy. The aim of the administration is to lead and accelerate new policy initiatives on climate change adaptation, help review existing policies, and prepare updated plans as required. It also coordinates the national adaptation actions and covers the key information in annual reports made available to the government and the public.

The State Comptroller and Ombudsman of Israel conducts an external audit of the various activities of the government ministries, local municipalities and various public bodies (the audited bodies). This is to ensure that their actions are carried out in accordance with the law, and through efficient and economical administration and conduct. Regarding climate change, the ministry reviews the government's actions according to the work plans and defined goals. Conclusions for 2021 were published in the Adaptation: the national preparation for adapting to climate change in Israel document.

In accordance with the request of the Chairman of the Israeli Government's Interior and Environmental Protection Committee, a national review was written in preparation for a discussion planned by the committee on climate change and national security. The review deals with the Impact of Climate Change on National Security: The Preparation of the Security Systems in Israel (2021). It is intended to outline in general terms the possible impact of climate change on national security and to describe the preparation for these changes in the national security system. As part of the audit activities, a global comparative examination was conducted that included countries, international organizations and professional institutions. The examination took place within the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Meteorological Service, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Innovation Authority, the Planning Administration and the National Emergency Authority. Further inquiries were also conducted in the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Ministry of Defense, the Securities Authority, the Bank of Israel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israel Land Authority, the Electricity Authority and the Electric Company. Other bodies involved included government units, affiliated bodies, local authorities and NGOs. Notably, no examination of climate change assessments in the Ministry of Education was mentioned.

The National Action Plan on Climate Change (2022-2026) gives details of the national monitoring system that operates in accordance with the principles and guidelines established by the UNFCCC. The primary objective of this system is to oversee and regulate the execution of national plans to attain Israel's climate targets. The system also assesses the efficacy of government climate policies and publishes annual reports for the government and the UNFCCC. The monitoring section does not include a reference to climate change education.

Israel participated in the 2018 PISA Global Competence Study to compare the performance of 15-year-old Israeli students with those in other countries. The results show that 30% of Israeli students know about the topic of climate change and global warming. Israel scored higher than the OECD average on questions related to global issues, which included climate change.

The Israel Institute for Democracy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, conducted a survey on public attitudes toward the climate crisis in Israel (2021). The survey shows that the majority of the Israeli public are aware of the dangers associated with global warming (p. 10), are concerned about it (p. 40), and believe that the Israeli Government should prepare accordingly (p.42). The public are also conscious of their personal responsibility to take action to reduce air pollution (p.54). They express their willingness to participate in efforts to mitigate its effects, at least when it involves relatively minor inconveniences.

ii. MECCE Project Monitoring

This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.


This profile was reviewed by Dr. Efrat Eilam, Associate Professor, Victoria University, Australia and Dr. Keren Kaplan Mintz, Lecturer, University of Haifa, Israel.

Last modified:

Mon, 27/11/2023 - 09:42