Thousands Protest Looming Deal Between Israeli Government and Gas Companies

Three arrested as protesters in Tel Aviv call for transparency in the decision-making process regarding gas, disbandment of Nobel-Delek monopoly and lowering of gas price to consumers.

Ofer Vaknin

Thousands of people participated in a protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday night against the looming natural gas agreement between the government and gas companies Nobel Energy and the Delek Group, which is controlled by Yitzhak Tshuva.

The protesters, who gathered in Habimah Square, at the foot of Rothschild Avenue, called for transparency in the decision-making process regarding gas, the disbandment of the Nobel-Delek monopoly and the lowering of the gas price to consumers.

Three protesters were arrested during the demonstration.

One of the speakers addressing the rally was geologist Dr. Yossi Langutsky, who led the team that discovered the gas reserves off Israel's coast. The protesters intended marching on the government offices near the Ayalon Highway at the conclusion of the demonstration. 

Dafni Leef, who organized the 2011 social policy protest in Rothschild Avenue, said that she had attended the demonstration because of the impression many people have that the government is attempting to bypass the public and the Knesset.

"It's a complex issue with a lot of disinformation and attempts to implement agreements on the sly," Leef said. "We're not in a period of great trust in the Establishment."

"The people must be involved," she added. "The decisions on the agenda are critical."

Photo by Ofer Vaknin