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Israel May Purchase German Ships to Protect Natural Gas Fields

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and German counterpart discussed possible purchase of surface ships to defend natural gas fields.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 1/31/2014, 10:55 PM

Ya'alon meets German counterpart in Berlin
Ya'alon meets German counterpart in Berlin
Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon met with German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen in Berlin on Thursday and discussed the possible purchase of surface ships to defend natural gas fields in Israeli waters, Israel Hayom reports.

The Israeli Navy has recently begun evaluating naval vessels for defending the valuable natural gas installations off the Israeli coast. The navy intends to purchase four ships, though it has yet to be determined from which country it will purchase them, the report said.

"The situation in the Middle East is very complex and unstable, and we expect there will be chronic instability in the coming years," Ya'alon told von der Leyen, according to Israel Hayom.

"We are great supporters of democracy and I wish there were more democratic states around us. We have experience in the Palestinian arena, in Gaza, where Hamas won the elections but there is no democracy. This was also the case in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood."

Ya'alon also spoke about Iran, warning that the "messianic-apocalyptic" regime's nuclear program must be stopped "one or way another ... otherwise it will become a nightmare for the Middle East and the entire world."

Ya'alon thanked Germany for its support and said he "appreciated very much the cooperation between Germany and Israel."

"Knowing very well the relationship, the good cooperation between our two countries, looking back to the dark past but looking to the bright future, these two democracies sharing the same values, I believe sharing the same interests, challenged by common threats like terror, rockets, missiles, weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and beyond," Ya'alon said.

Der Leyen told Ya’alon, "This is the first foreign guest I have the pleasure of welcoming here in my function as defense minister. It shows the special relationship between Germany and Israel."

Israel has discovered large reserves of natural gas off its coast in recent years, which will allow it to become self-dependent instead of relying on gas supplies from Egypt, which has seen repeated attacks on its natural gas pipelines since former President Hosni Mubarak was removed from power.

This past summer it was reported that the Jordanian government began holding talks to become the first to purchase natural gas from Israel.

Israel will also sell natural gas to the Palestinian Authority (PA) starting this year and continuing for 20 years.

The gas will be piped to a power station to be built in Jenin, which will be operated by the PA and produce electricity. As a result of the deal, the consortium that licenses the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields – Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, and Avner – will earn 1.2 billion shekels.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)