PM: Gas deal will bring 'independence' to Israel

Netanyahu touts multibillion gas deal in Cabinet meeting: 'natural gas will be number one growth engine in Israel in coming years.'

Cynthia Blank ,

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Amit Shabi/POOL/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed Israel's multibillion dollar gas deal with US energy giant Noble Energy at the start of his Cabinet meeting on Sunday. 

"Today we are taking a major step toward advancing the supply of gas in the State of Israel," he declared. "Natural gas will be the number one growth engine in Israel in the coming years."

"We are talking about an investment of very many billions of dollars already over the next two years and the creation of related industries, which will provide many jobs for the citizens of Israel." 

"The gas supply will help lower energy costs and the cost of living," Netanyahu added. "It also gives energy independence to Israel. We will not be dependent on foreign energy sources - this is very important for the State Israel. It will pump hundreds of billions of shekels, over the next 20 years, to the citizens of Israel, to the social welfare, education and health budgets - which is very important to the country.

Netanyahu did make note of strong opposition to the gas deal, but stressed the outline would prove invaluable, as had Highway #6 despite the "heated arguments" when it was first implemented. 

"The same will happen with the gas outline," Netanyahu vowed. "I think that within one, two or three years, everyone will understand that it was a necessary step. I promised that we would approve the outline, and today we are taking the most significant step to do so.

Netanyahu then addressed Shas chairman Aryeh Deri's intention to resign from the Economy Ministry, giving Netanyahu the final puzzle piece to approve the outline for the gas deal. 

"To the Galilee and Negev Development Ministry will be added responsibility for the social periphery; it will be called the Negev, Galilee and Periphery Development Ministry," Netanyahu awarded the haredi politician, noting his role "as the head of an important party in the coalition; he is an experienced and veteran minister."

The Prime Minister concluded by offering "condolences to the government of Russia, to President Putin, to the Russian people and, of course, to the families of the victims" after a Russian airliner crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula Saturday evening. 

"This was a very serious disaster. We share in their grief. We are, of course, in continuous contact with the governments of Russia and of Egypt regarding the circumstances of the incident."




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