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The Sheshinski committee's recommendations to raise taxes significantly on Israeli natural gas and oil production took a major step toward becoming law yesterday: The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted to give the law on petroleum profits official government backing.

Ten ministers voted in favor and only three, all from Yisrael Beiteinu, voted against.

There was a little bit of drama during the meeting yesterday after Delek Energy, a company involved in gas and oil exploration, tried to get the ministers to postpone their decision.

The company sent an urgent letter yesterday morning to Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman asking for the delay, but in the end Neeman, the head of the committee, and the other ministers decided to hold the vote.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beiteinu ) asked to postpone the vote for a month, due to the events in Egypt. However, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz countered that was exactly why the legislation had to be advanced quickly, so as not to cause any delays in implementing the new law and regulations.

The proposed law will be presented to the Knesset this week for its first reading, after which it will be sent to the Knesset Finance Committee. Steinitz told the ministerial committee he intends to complete the legislative process on the bill by the end of the present Knesset session - before the beginning of April.