Israel has experienced litigation on specific projects on the following grounds:
- The polluter pays principle has been used as a basis of climate change litigation in Israel, by virtue of the Clean Air Act section 63. It was applied in the Kedoshim v. IDF, Class Action No. 24714-02-16, a class action lawsuit filed against the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) for negligence in preventing fire and refraining from proper steps to extinguish it during routine training activities, resulting in emissions of greenhouse gases and damage to the entire population, and contributing to global warming.
- The precautionary principle can be used as tool for individuals to raise actions against specific projects and could be used in the future in the context of climate change litigation. This principle is also embedded in number of existing environmental legislation (The Clean Air Law, the Non-Ionizing Radiation Law, the Environmental Protection Law (Emissions/Releases and Transfers to the Environment – Reporting and Registering Obligations). This principle was applied in the case of Haifa Chemicals Ltd. V. Municipality of Haifa Criminal Appeal no. 2841/17 where there was a dispute over an ammonia storage facility in an industrial area located close to a populated urban area. It does not deal with climate change specifically but it is illustrative as to how the precautionary principle can be used in litigation, and could form the basis as to how this principle may be used in climate change litigation in the future.
- Other possible grounds in claims against a government entity are general civil law grounds, for example the civil wrong of negligence, which could theoretically be used to claim future damage from climate change-related harms such as flooding. Given the challenges with proving future causality and in the absence of specific legislation, the chances of such a claim are low.
In terms of remedies, under the polluter pays principle financial remedies are the most likely outcome.
The Locus standi requirements are broad. The Israeli legal system allows for both individual citizens and NGOs to raise actions against the government or government entities in relation to specific projects.
- Haifa Chemicals Ltd. V. Municipality of Haifa Criminal Appeal no. 2841/17
- Kedoshim v. IDF, Class Action No. 24714-02-16
For more country specific context and relevant national climate change law see: https://climate-laws.org/geographies/israel
This country report has been produced by Robbie McAdam, C2LI Research Assistant, Humzah Khan, C2LI Senior Research Assistant and Kate McKenzie, C2LI Legal. This summary is based on Dr. Tzipi Iser Itsiq, Adv., Tzvi Levinson, Adv, “Climate Change Litigation in Israel – Trends, Prospects and Challenges” in F. Sindico and M. Moise Mbengue, Comparative Climate Change Litigation: Beyond the Usual Suspects, Springer, 2021.