Climate activists block Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to protest gov’t inaction

Activists from Extinction Rebellion glue themselves to the doors of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to protest Israeli corporations profiting from global warming.

Members of the ‘Red Brigade’ demonstrate outside the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, demanding Israeli corporations cease profiting off of the climate crisis, October 7, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Members of the ‘Red Brigade’ demonstrate outside the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, demanding Israeli corporations cease profiting off of the climate crisis, October 7, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Dozens of Israeli climate activists blocked the entrance to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Monday morning to demand that financial institutions move toward green and sustainable investments. They called upon the Israeli government to join a host of nations that have already declared a climate emergency.

The activists are affiliated with Extinction Rebellion, an international civil disobedience group that seeks to force government action on climate breakdown.

“This is a time of introspection,” said an activist named Tamir, referring to the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins on Tuesday at sundown. “In our financial system, the rule of capital works day in and day out; it does not rest. We are here to change the system so that it promotes life.”

Dana, one of several activists who glued their hands to the door of the stock exchange, said: “These companies are destroying our planet — we must start investing in life.”

The demonstrators blocked the entrance of the stock exchange until around noon, by which time riot police had dispersed them. They then marched down Rothschild Boulevard, where many of Israel’s most powerful financial institutions maintain their headquarters.

Activists at the protest said that the Israeli government and financial institutions have ignored the climate crisis completely. Meanwhile, in September nearly 80 countries pledged at the U.N. Climate Change Summit to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, while that same month 130 global financial firms agreed to align their business practices with efforts to address climate change. A year ago, Bill Gates and some of his fellow billionaires established a $1 billion foundation to fund radical energy startups that aspire to cut global emissions drastically.

Activists with the direct action group Extinction Rebellion glue themselves to the doors of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to protest corporations that profit from the climate crisis, October 7, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Activists with the direct action group Extinction Rebellion glue themselves to the doors of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to protest corporations that profit from the climate crisis, October 7, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Last month, thousands of people in Tel Aviv joined the Global Climate Strike, demanding that their government follow the example set by the U.K., France, and Canada in declaring a climate emergency. This means acting immediately to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, transition into a sustainable and green economy, take steps to limit the animal product industry, and prepare for the damage that is already being caused by climate change.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.