Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. (Isaac Harari/Flash90) (Isaac Harari/Flash90)
Yuli Edelstein

In a speech at the United Nations, Israel’s Parliamentary Speaker Yuli Edelstein took the topic of environmental preservation and turned it into a regional call for peace and cooperation.  

Israel’s hand is always extended in peace to its neighbors, Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset (Israeli parliament), stressed on Sunday in an address to the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament at the UN in New York, where he invited representatives of Arab countries to visit Jerusalem.

“My friends and neighbors in the Middle East. Let us talk, people to people, parliament to parliament. Come to Jerusalem. Come to the Knesset. Meet with me. Sit with me. Talk with me,” he told the conference, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post.

“We can lay the foundations for any future peace by fostering international and regional cooperation on issues that transcend national borders,” he stated, apparently hoping that parliament speakers would take the lead on this endeavor.

“Let’s talk water. Let’s talk clean air. Let’s talk prosperity. Let’s talk partnerships. And peace? And borders? These talks, I assure you, will follow,” Edelstein said.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which organized the conference, could facilitate such talks, he suggested.

Model of the Knesset with the solar panels. (Knesset)

Model of the Green Knesset with solar panels. (Knesset)

The session Edelstein addressed concerned the environment, and the Knesset speaker took the opportunity to express pride in the Green Knesset initiative, which includes the largest solar field installed on any parliament in the world and various programs to make the Knesset more environmentally friendly.

“We are now one of the greenest parliaments in the world,” Edelstein said. “I challenge you, my distinguished colleagues, to make similar efforts,” he told the audience, according to the Post report.

Edelstein offered to share, through IPU, the project specifics as well as other Israeli technologies and innovations in agriculture and genetics, among other areas, and he urged other countries to take advantage of the opportunity.

Relating to the Book of Genesis and the upcoming Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, during which the world was created, according to Jewish tradition, Edelstein emphasized the importance of the environment in Judaism. This season is “a time to consider the tremendous power we have been given to shape the world and determine the course of global history… Let us partner with our Creator and with all our fellow men to make this a healthier, saner and safer world for future generations,” he stated.