Knesset committees compete to prepare gas revenue bill

Rivlin, Netanyahu try to resolve whether the bill should be prepared in the Finance Committee or in the Economic Affairs Committee.

March 3, 2011 03:15
2 minute read.
Drillling for gas offshore

Offshore Gas Drilling 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The Sheshinski Committee’s recommendations to raise oil and gas royalties may have passed their first Knesset reading this week, but within Likud, tensions continue to rise regarding the bill being pushed forward by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Although Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin reportedly reached agreement on which committee should prepare the legislation for its final readings, Economic Affairs Committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Likud MK, blasted the announcement, and denied that any such decision had been made.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Tshuva: Gas will reach Israel's shores by 2013
Palestinians propose power station driven by Tamar gas

According to Rivlin, he and Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday to try to resolve whether the bill should be prepared in the Finance Committee or in the Economic Affairs Committee before the question is put before the House Committee next week.

The two men agreed that the question of the state’s revenues from Israel’s gas resources should be discussed in the Finance Committee, an opinion supported by Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Inon.

Inon explained his ruling on the subject by arguing that the legislation concerns a “fiscal system that will be enforced upon the natural gas sector,” rather than “regularizing the field of gas and oil speculation as a whole,” and thus belongs in the committee whose mandate includes taxation.

The Sheshinski Committee recommended that taxation of income from Israel’s newly discovered natural gas resources be increased to more closely resemble the rates in other Western states.

Netanyahu and Rivlin also concluded that that opinion would be the official position of the coalition during next week’s House Committee vote.

Rivlin had opposed earlier proposals to divide the hearings on the law, arguing that “it is not appropriate for two committees to hold hearings on an identical subject, while inconveniencing all of the relevant bodies to attend separate hearings on the same subjects. It could lead to a situation in which the Knesset reaches two different – and even opposing – decisions.”

Such an outcome, he warned, could weaken the force of decisions made in the Knesset.

But Shama-Hacohen remained obstinate regarding his committee’s jurisdiction over the legislation, and responded to Rivlin’s announcement with open disdain.

“The prime minister does not interfere in internal Knesset matters,” he said.

“The Knesset Speaker, who caused this complication because of his unexplainable change in positions, has no idea what he is talking about, because nothing has yet been determined, and in any case, he is outside of the decision-making process on this topic,” Shama-Hacohen said. “I would recommend the Speaker concentrate more on the content of notes that he passes to opposition members in which he criticizes the prime minister.”

The bill’s fate in the Finance Committee is uncertain – although opposition parties including Labor and Meretz are strong supporters of the legislation, individual coalition MKs as well as members of Israel Beiteinu are less enthusiastic, and are likely to seek major changes.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN