After decades of vainly scouring the Land of Israel for oil and gas deposits mirroring those in nearby Arab countries, energy companies finally hit the jackpot in recent years just off the Mediterranean coast. Enough natural gas deposits have already been discovered under the ocean floor to power Israel’s electric grid and bolster its defenses for years to come, while also solving the nation’s water crisis, relieving social inequities, and turning Israel into an energy exporter. Even more gas fields are still being located at sea, while massive oil shale deposits were recently identified back on land in the Negev and Galilee that could rival the mighty Saudi oil reserves.

The windfall which these natural resources will soon bring to the nation is also renewing hope among some Israelis that peace is again possible, if the government offers to share the benefits with the Palestinians, Jordan, Syria and other surrounding Arab states. For one, the natural gas supplies will now be used by Israel to power electric plants, which in turn will run the desalination plants that are projected to provide a surplus of fresh water to alleviate the acute water shortage (see "Drinking sea water"). The logic goes that Israel could build goodwill among hostile neighbors by alleviating the region’s chronic lack of water.


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