July 17, 2023
10:00 am - 11:00 am


Zoom Webinar

Written under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog’s Israel Climate Forum, “Regional Environmental Cooperation Between Israel and Its Neighbors,” is the Middle East Institute’s latest report, authored by Dr. Nimrod Goren, Dr. Ofir Winter, and Dr. Maya Negev. The study addresses the importance of trans-national environmental cooperation in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, examines the scope of such cooperation between Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors, and spells out opportunities, obstacles and recommendations for increased coordination and joint action in this space. 

As such, MEI is pleased to host a discussion on the report’s findings and recommendations, as well as the wider geopolitical context in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The discussion will touch upon how two parallel trends — the growing importance of climate change and the environment on the international agenda, along with the significant progress achieved in Israel-Arab relations following the signing of the Abraham Accords (2020) and the establishment of the Negev Forum (2022) — can create new opportunities for  Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors to engage in regional cooperation on environmental issues. 

Read the report here


Gidon Bromberg
Co-Founder; Israel Director, EcoPeace Middle East

Amb. Gideon Behar
Special Envoy, Climate Change and Sustainability, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Galit Cohen
Head of Climate and National Security Program, INSS; Former Director General of Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection

Dov Khenin
Chairman, Israeli Climate Forum; Former Member of Knesset

Mohammed Mahmoud
Director, Climate and Water Program; Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute

Nimrod Goren, moderator 
Senior Fellow, Israeli Affairs, Middle East Institute

Detailed Speaker Biographies 

Yana Abu Taleb is the Jordan director of EcoPeace Middle East. Abu Taleb leads EcoPeace activities concerning the Jordan River, Dead Sea and our Good Water Neighbors and Water Energy Nexus projects. She supervises international project development, liaising with and lobbying government and private sector figures and organizations on regional policy issues related to environmental protection and transboundary water. She is very involved in facilitating and promoting national and regional dialogue to advance policy processes needed for sustaining peace.  

Ambassador Gideon Behar is Israel’s special envoy for climate change and sustainability. In this capacity, he is in charge of Israel’s climate foreign policy. An expert in the field of climate change and international relations, he teaches a university course on “The Impacts of Climate Change on International Relations,” publishes media articles on climate change and the environment, and delivers lectures to various fora. A career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1994, he served in many posts, among them head of the Bureau for Africa; special envoy for African affairs; director of the Department for Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism; ambassador to Senegal; deputy director of the Jordan, Syria and Lebanon Department; and deputy head of Israel’s diplomatic mission in Tunisia.

Galit Cohen is director of the Program on Climate Change at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv. In this position, she identifies and analyzes risks and opportunities for Israel’s national security in the field of climate change. In her former position as director general of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Cohen served as Israel’s most senior environmental regulator. She has over 20 years of experience in initiating and managing national policy transformations while implementing her deep understanding of international trends and governmental reforms, environmental and climate technologies and financial issues.

Dov Khenin is the chairman of the Israeli Climate Forum, established by President Isaac Herzog in 2021. He is a former member of Knesset, who served in parliament for over a decade, until 2019. He is one of the first figures to address the climate crisis in Israeli public life. He promoted an environmental and social agenda during his parliamentary service and led the legislation of many laws on these matters in the Knesset. Among his activities, he chaired Knesset committees on environmental and health, public transportation and pollution in the Bay of Haifa, as well as the Social-Environmental Lobby. After leaving politics, Khenin has led the “Changing Direction” initiative to confront the climate crisis, devised at Tel Aviv University, where he currently teaches.

Mohammed Mahmoud is the director of the Climate and Water Program and a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. His areas of expertise include climate change adaptation, water policy analysis, and scenario planning. Mahmoud has held leadership positions in several organizations. Most recently, he was the chair of the Water Utility Climate Alliance, a coalition of 12 of the nation’s largest water utilities that collectively provide water to over 50 million people in the United States. Prior to that he was the president of the North American Weather Modification Council. Mahmoud’s professional accomplishments include negotiating and formalizing a 10-year multi-state cloud seeding funding agreement between seven Colorado River Basin states, developing and implementing the first ever climate adaptation plan for a multi-county water district in Arizona, and helping secure a 1.1 million dollar grant from NASA for Arizona State University to study the impacts of climate change on the hydrology of the Western United States. Mahmoud has conducted water management research and work for the Middle East and North Africa region, most extensively on the Nile River Basin. His other water management work in the region explored formalizing the administration of Saudi Arabia’s groundwater resources by using other established groundwater management frameworks as application templates.

Nimrod Goren is the senior fellow for Israeli affairs at the Middle East Institute. Goren is the President and founder of Mitvim–The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, co-Founder of Diplomeds–The Council for Mediterranean Diplomacy, and co-Chair of a regional initiative at President Isaac Herzog’s Israeli Climate Forum. Prior, Goren was a Hubert Humphrey fellow at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, a teaching fellow on Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University, and has also worked at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and the Nehemia Levtzion Center for Islamic Studies. Goren is a past recipient of the Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East and the Centennial Medal of the Institute of International Education, and was selected as a Vamik Volkan Scholar by the International Dialogue Initiative. He serves on the steering committees of the Geneva Initiative and the Turkish-Israeli Civil Society Forum, and is a member of the Global Diplomacy Lab. His fields of expertise include Israel’s foreign policy and regional relations, as well as the Middle East peace process. 

Photo by Adri Salido/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images