Hot Air and Natural Gas Agreements

Some politicians believe Israel's natural gas actually belongs under the ground. Luckily for us, the prime minister is not among them.

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An Israeli gas platform controlled by the U.S.-Israeli energy group Noble and Delek near Ashdod.
An Israeli gas platform controlled by the U.S.-Israeli energy group Noble and Delek near Ashdod.Credit: Reuters

A great disaster is lurking around the corner. Natural gas, stuck deep in the ground for the last five years, is about to emerge and destroy our economy. This calamity must be stopped!

We have to do something before the natural gas brings down energy expenditures and the cost of living. This process needs to be halted before the industrial sector receives cheap natural gas so it can manufacture more, export more and employ more workers, all while increasing their wages. Something must be done before academic institutions develop new programs to train gas engineers. We cant allow the market to benefit from investments worth billions of dollars, or increased, heaven forbid, growth.

The state must not be allowed to reap billions of shekels in taxes – money that will only be invested in infrastructure, education, health, welfare and security. We must all mobilize and prevent this terrible tragedy, say Knesset members from Meretz and Zionist Union.

It was particularly sad to listen to the objections raised by MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Union). His words were a jumble of false assumptions and unfounded conclusions. It seems that politics have overpowered his economic logic. Mind you, his statements pale in comparison to the barrage of populism we were hit with by Eitan Cabel, Shelly Yacimovich and Zehava Galon.

Meretz chairwoman Galon called it a despicable deal, rotten and corrupt. The truth is that Galon, like her colleagues, simply wants the gas to remain buried deep underground, so that things only get worse for us. She learned this from Lenin, who said that the worse it gets, the better it will be. That is, first you must sink into poverty and squalor, and then the revolution will break out.

Galon is convinced she understands natural gas and economics better than Prof. Eugene Kandel, chairman of the National Economic Council, economist Prof. Eytan Sheshinski, treasury budget chief Amir Levi and Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht. Who are they next to her?

She also understands industry better than Shraga Brosh, the head of the Manufacturers Association, who said the most important thing is that the gas starts flowing because its among the cheapest in the world and will therefore greatly improve the competitiveness of Israels exports. Brosh added that David Gilo, the outgoing antitrust commissioner, caused huge damage by not approving the gas framework, assisted by a few other populist Knesset members.

Galon also understands industry better than Yonatan Bassi, the head of the Kibbutz Industries Association, who said the natural gas framework should be implemented as soon as possible, since kibbutz industries are crying out for this cheap source of energy.

What can she say about Bassi? That hes a corrupt tycoon tightly linked to politicians? Hes a kibbutznik!

Its true there was some problematic, political horse trading between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and outgoing Economy Minister Arye Dery last week. However, sometimes, when dealing with an economic and strategic issue of the highest order, its acceptable to pay 300 million shekels in order to receive 300 billion. Its good that Netanyahu took responsibility and intervened. This is exactly what is expected of him – cutting the Gordian knot. He needed to extricate us from the madness we were thrust into by Gilo, who will forever be remembered as the public servant who wrought the most damage to Israels economy.

In contrast to the endless lies bandied about by those who wish to leave the natural gas deep underground, enacting the deal will benefit the economy and those known as the invisible ones. In contrast to all the lies, the price of this gas will be reasonable, the Karish-Tanin offshore gas field will be sold to a new investor, and the large Leviathan field will be developed.

A few years ago, Galon poured fire and brimstone on plans to build Route 6 and did everything she could to block its development. I tried to explain to her that this was the most social highway of all, since it would link outlying areas with the center. I failed to convince her, and shes yet to apologize. Thats why I dont expect an apology in a few years when we realize how important it was to get that gas out of the ground as quickly as possible.

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