Experts have proposed a radical plan to stop unwanted migration due to climate change. In a 200 page report submitted to Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, a team of academics, led by Professor Arnon Soffer and Dr. Anton Berkovsky of the University of Haifa, have proposed turning Israel into a walled nation, protected literally by a modern fortress wall that would span both land and sea.
The fence would be used to keep out so called ‘climate refugees’, those who are forced to flee the African continent as climate change brings on desert conditions and famine. According to the report, “The lack of water, warming and sea level rise, even if it will occur on a different schedule, will bring migration movements from all impoverished regions to every place where it is possible to escape this.”
Soffer claims that an influx of migrants seeking out a tenable climate and water will not only strain available resources in Israel but also pose a risk to the nation’s security. “We are an island—we don’t belong to this region, and we have to defend Israel from waves of migration from Egypt from Jordan and maybe from Syria. If we want to keep Israel a Jewish State, we will have to defend ourselves from what I call climate refugees,” he wrote.
While the wall might stop migration, it cannot prevent destruction due to climate change from creeping into the land. The paper cites the “terrible tragedies” that have occurred due to climate change since the 1970’s in Africa, including 800 vanished lakes and millions perished in Sahel. Soffer and Berkovsky’s team believe their research demonstrates that these conditions will soon appear in Israel.
“I can see how the desert will penetrate slowly to Kiryat Gat, Gaza and Hebron—everywhere,” Soffer commented. “If you accept what the scientists are saying then there will be no question that people will be forced to leave the Negev.”
Environmental Protection Minister Erdan’s response to the report acknowledged the importance of preparing for climate change in the region but made no commitment to building a wall around Israel anytime soon. Instead, Erdan focused on the need to analyze and develop a multi-faceted approach to impeding climate shifts. After receiving the report, he stated, “These changes have social, economic, security and ecological implications that require changes in behavioral patterns of individuals, industry and the state, in order to minimize the potential damage.”