Israeli Cabinet Gives Government Control Over Natural Gas

The Israeli Cabinet voted to transfer to the government control over the development of natural gas, calling it a matter of national security.

On Sunday, the Cabinet voted to allow the government to override the Antitrust Authority, which objects to the current draft agreement between the Israeli government and the gas companies, U.S.-based Noble Energy and Israeli-owned Delek Group. The full Knesset will vote on Monday.

“I am determined to advance a realistic solution that will bring gas to the Israeli economy,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the Cabinet meeting. “I will not capitulate to populist proposals that will leave the gas deep underground. We have already seen enough countries that succumbed to these pressures and the gas has remained in the ground. This cannot be allowed to happen here.”

The Cabinet move comes days after the security Cabinet unanimously approved the expedited development and expansion of the natural gas fields that have been discovered off Israel’s coast.

Also Sunday, Israel’s deputy attorney general found that Netanyahu could continue overseeing natural gas regulating, despite a letter sent to the prime minister in July 2014 by American supporter Sheldon Adelson that urged him to consider “streamlining the regulation of hydrocarbons in Israel.”

Haaretz first reported on the potential conflict on Friday.

Netanyahu responded to the report in a Facebook post.

“I do not work for any tycoon – I’m the prime minister of Israel and I work for you, for the security of the State of Israel and the welfare of all of its citizens,” he wrote. “During the election I pledged to work to reduce the cost of living. I am determined to do this through the many resources we will gain through [implementation of] the gas draft. The draft dismantles the monopoly and will bring over the coming decades hundreds of millions of shekels for education, welfare and health for all the citizens of Israel.”

The Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu never discussed policies related to natural gas with Adelson, either directly or indirectly, according to Haaretz.

On Saturday night, thousands of Israelis protested in Saturday night against the potential deal between the government and the gas companies.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Israeli Cabinet Gives Government Control Over Natural Gas

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close