Israel's Tamar gas rig
Israel's Tamar gas rig Moshe Shai/Flash 90

The Finance Ministry's accountant announced Tuesday that Israel will receive NIS 17 billion ($4.7 billion) in royalties from the natural gas deposits off Israel's shores.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the news and said that this was "NIS 17 billion which will go to education, health, the aged and Holocaust survivors. All this would have stayed under the ocean if those who opposed [ the state's agreement with private investors] had succeeded, but they didn't succeed. We made sure they didn't succeed, as we are concerned for the state of Israel and its citizens."

Israel is estimated to have 199 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, mostly in the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas deposits off the Mediterranean coast. This year, Israel began exporting natural gas to Jordan. Israel has also signed a deal with Cyprus and Greece to construct a pipeline to facilitate the transfer of Israeli natural gas to Europe.

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