Shalom Simhon 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Political wrangling over the Tzemach Committee’s conclusions on how to manage
Israel’s natural gas resources has begun, even though the final report is yet to
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon voiced
disapproval Thursday over not being included in the discussion. Some opposition
MKs have used news leaks about the report as a hook to criticize its suspected
The final report was distributed to all the
members of the Tzemach Committee Wednesday, and is expected to be published
officially in the coming weeks.
According to business daily TheMarker
which claimed to have seen a copy of the report, Israel will allow up to 57
percent of the country’s natural gas to be exported while ensuring that enough
reserves are set aside to supply the domestic market for 25 years.
interministerial committee reportedly recommended increasing the amount of gas
set aside for the domestic market to 450 million cubic meters, 7% more than it
proposed in its interim report. However, it reportedly withdrew its initial
proposal that energy companies maintain an operational capacity of 15% of their
Simhon protested the absence of an Industry, Trade and
Labor Ministry representative on the committee, in a letter sent to Energy and
Water Minister Uzi Landau Thursday.
“I learned from the media that the
draft final report has been signed and is about to be published,” Simhon said.
He added that a representative from his office should have been invited to sit
on the committee, as the question of natural gas involves a number of topics
that his ministry is responsible for, including industry, foreign trade, on-job
training, and job placements.
MK Dov Henin (Hadash) accused the
government of favoring the “profits of gas barons” over Israel’s domestic energy
“The government will allow more than half of Israel’s natural gas
to be exported, without waiting for a clear picture of gas reserves and without
conduction proper analysis of our future energy needs,” he said.
is no reason Israelis should pay more for electricity while we continue to
import expensive and dirty coals, when transferring the manufacturing of
electricity to Israeli gas is cheap.”
On Tuesday, Labor leader Shelly
Yechimovich backed Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan’s opposition to
what she called “uncontrolled exportation of natural gas.”
said Israel’s primary economic, security and social aim must be to achieve
energy independence.Sharon Udasin contributed to this report.