Offshore gas fields to generate $130b by 2040

Israel’s offshore gas reserves stand to generate revenues of $100 billion to $130 billion by 2040, and half of that will go to the state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet meeting yesterday. The prime minister was presenting the conclusions of the interministerial committee examining how to use the country’s revenues from natural resources. The committee recommended creating an overseas fund managed by the Bank of Israel, and allowing the state to use 4% of the money every year for defense and education. Half of the state’s gas revenues should go into that fund, the committee recommended. Netanyahu also noted that during his trip to Cyprus last week, the sides had discussed setting up joint natural gas export facilities, which would enable the construction of much larger facilities than if Israel had been working alone. ‏(Moti Bassok and Itai Trilnick‏)

Electric Corp. approves Tamar gas deal

The board of the Israel Electric Corporation yesterday approved a deal to purchase natural gas from the Tamar offshore gas field, after waiving clauses in the contract that had raised the concern of the Antitrust Authority. The company will be buying 3-5 billion cubic meters of gas from Tamar over 15 years, for a total of $8 billion to $16 billion. Prices will be updated in keeping with the U.S. inflation rate, and the IEC will be able to renegotiate its price in eight years. ‏(Itai Trilnick‏)

Justices: No free health care for Clalit workers

The Clalit health maintenance organization cannot continue providing current and former employees with free or reduced-price health services, the High Court of Justice ruled on Thursday. The Health Ministry has one year to work out the matter, the court added. The ruling, which came in response to a petition by the Dolev Foundation for Medical Justice, states that the ministry needs to give employees appropriate compensation instead. Clalit employees have been receiving medical benefits for more than 30 years. Currently, more than 100,000 people receive the benefits, including employees, retirees, their partners and their children under the age of 18. These benefits cost the HMO some NIS 85 million a year. ‏(Ronny Linder-Ganz‏)

Suny goes after open-source Android hobbyists

Ilan Ben Dov’s Samsung importer Suny is going after small phone importers and programming hobbyists who have been distributing their own Hebrew-language versions of the Android phone operating system. Android is open source − meaning anyone can download it, modify it and create his own translated versions of the original English. The stores and developers aren’t starting their development from zero, but rather using Suny’s proprietary software, Suny argues. One private store, Go-Mobile, counters that Suny is brutishly trying to stymie competition. Go-Mobile is facing a NIS 1-million suit by Suny. Suny also reportedly went after PilotX − a group of programming hobbyists who developed an Android version widely described as superior to Suny’s − and the popular forum Android.co.il. ‏(Amitai Ziv‏)

Medinol owners: Cousin sold our home

A U.S. resident purchased a home in Israel without realizing that it actually belongs to Yehudit and Kobi Richter, the controlling shareholders of stent company Medinol, according to court papers filed recently by the buyer. Benjamin Cohen says he bought the house in Arsuf from Yehudit Cohen’s cousin, Yaakov Harkavy, in 2009, after giving Harkavy a loan that the latter couldn’t pay off. The home, valued at $8.5 million in 2007, had been the security for the loan. Cohen paid purchase tax and registered the sale at the land registry, he says. But then he was told that the house actually belongs to the Richters, and that Harkavy had merely been their trustee − even though the Richters previously had passed up opportunities to register the house in their own name, he notes. Cohen is asking the court to recognize the house as his; the Richters said in response that they regretted a family member had betrayed them and that their goodwill had been abused. Harkavy said he’d respond in court. Meanwhile, this isn’t Harkavy’s only legal issue involving the house: The Tax Authority is demanding he pay NIS 12 million in betterment taxes because it has no record that he purchased the home, states Cohen’s suit. ‏(Nathan Sheva‏)