Sukkot, which began at the beginning of the Shemita year, is an opportunity to examine our attitude as a Jewish state to the environment.
Unlike most of the world, it seems that many Israelis, especially the religious and ultra-Orthodox public, are quite indifferent.
The attitude of many to the subject is like to the troubles of Gentiles somewhere.
The changing reality, and especially the cost to the soul that these disasters charge, necessitates a change in the attitude and examination of the attitude towards the environment through the glasses of mind control.
The main element of the year of the shemita is the shemita of the land and the prohibition of cultivating it and working for its development and increasing its utilization.
This gives the land, and the person cultivating it, an opportunity to renew their powers and limit the utilization of the earth's resources.
Alongside the corona plague, the images that break out of us from the news channels of floods, fires and severe heat and cold waves, sometimes equate to reality a sense of the end of the world. The extent and intensity that characterize the events of the past year, and the rising number of victims in the psyche as a result of natural disasters, illustrate that we are facing a different reality. Global warming, which most experts believe human actions have at least made a significant contribution to, is no longer a distant threat but a tangible crisis. Human behavior can still improve it, thus improving our future ball.
In Israel, environmental protection seems to receive less public attention than in other Western countries.
The attention of the religious and ultra-Orthodox public to the issue is even lower.
Compared to other issues related to state conduct, the values of environmental protection are treated very poorly in religious thinking.
As long as there is a religious attitude of rabbis and thinkers to these issues - it is incidental, and relies on a few verses from Genesis and esoteric sources.
In some cases in recent years it has even been the ultra-Orthodox and religious who have stopped laws designed to protect the environment.
What leads to policy formulation is a balance between values.
In the face of the global reality, this religious-value perception must change.
It is clear that human actions affect the environment, and that the disasters caused by it take human lives.
Therefore, from now on, the value glasses of examining policy on these issues should be through the recognized Jewish value of the sanctity of human life.
One of the essential challenges of a Jewish state is to design a Jewish-value approach to policy issues that do not seem to be related to the religious world.
Religious thinkers and arbitrators should internalize that these questions concern human life and mindfulness no less than "classical" religious issues.
If this happens, their attitude, and consequently the value balance towards these issues, will change.
Israel will be a partner in the global effort to bring about a change in the trend, precisely because it is a Jewish state.
Dr. Shuki Friedman is the Vice President of the Institute
of Jewish People's Policy and a lecturer in
law at the Peres Academic Center.