Dear Friends of Israel’s Environment,
First of all, thank you for your continued support of the U.S.-based Friends of Israel’s Environment (FIE). As you know, FIE provides financial and policy support to Adam Teva V’Din (the Israel Union for Environmental Defense) which is widely recognized as one of the most effective and important environmental organizations in Israel. Since its founding in 1990, Adam Teva V’Din has been a tireless advocate for strengthening environmental laws to protect our beloved Israel, including major achievements related to clean air, coastal protection, water quality, contaminated sites, plastics regulation and many others. Over the last several years, Adam Teva V’Din has also been at the forefront of advocating for a comprehensive climate law.
Unfortunately, there is a new risk to the ability of Adam Teva V’Din and other environmental organizations in Israel to fulfill their important missions. Specifically, the new Israeli government has proposed numerous changes to Israel’s judicial system primarily aimed at reducing the authority of the Israeli Supreme Court.
A strong Israeli Supreme Court has been absolutely critical to Adam Teva V’Din’s ability to achieve environmental protection in Israel. For example, over many decades, the Israeli Supreme Court has developed a jurisprudential principle called “reasonableness” pursuant to which the Court can overturn government decisions that are not based upon sound discretion. This concept is similar to the principle in U.S. courts where government decisions can be overturned if they are deemed to be “arbitrary and capricious.” Pursuant to this reasonableness concept, Adam Teva V’Din has secured dozens of judicial victories over the years, protecting natural resources for future generations and ensuring that environmental laws are appropriately enforced.
Another proposal from the current Israeli government could limit the ability of Adam Teva V’Din (and others) to bring lawsuits by severely weakening the concept of standing. Pursuant to current practice, Adam Teva V’Din is regularly recognized as having standing to petition the courts on behalf of natural resources or impacted communities. In other words, the ‘right of standing’ is the key that gives Adam Teva V’Din access to the courts in order to fulfil its mission.
I am writing to you because these recent proposals could have a devasting impact on environmental law in Israel. Fortunately, Adam Teva V’Din has partnered with numerous other environmental organizations and academics in Israel to oppose these changes. Here’s a recent article in the Times of Israel about some of these efforts including several quotes from Amit Bracha, the Executive Director of Adam Teva V’Din.
Now more than ever, as Friends of Israel’s Environment, it is critical that we help Adam Teva V’Din protect the environment in Israel by protecting the rule of law in Israel.
You can help by donating and also sharing this email with others who love Israel and environmental law. As a reminder, Friends of Israel’s Environment is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Please donate online here. All funds raised during the next month will be used exclusively by Adam Teva V’Din for purposes of protecting the environment by protecting the rule of law in Israel.
Please also feel free to reach out if you would like to become involved in our efforts.
Brian D. Israel – Chair, Friends of Israel’s Environment