Netanyahu denies colluding with tycoons over gas deal, vows to break monopolies

"I don't work for any tycoon," Netanyahu wrote on Facebook. "I am prime minister of Israel, and I work for you, for the security of Israel and the welfare of all of its citizens."

June 27, 2015 22:10
1 minute read.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied a report in Friday's Ha'aretz that suggested that his decisions about how to handle offshore natural gas fields were compromised by his relations with US billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

The report revealed a letter Adelson wrote Netanyahu in August 2014 in his capacity as chairman of the US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Israel Business Initiative. The letter appears to urge steps favored by Noble Energy, one of the controlling owners of the Tamar natural gas field.

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"I don't work for any tycoon," Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. "I am prime minister of Israel, and I work for you, for the security of Israel and the welfare of all of its citizens."

Netanyahu vowed in the Facebook post to keep his campaign promise to lower the cost of living using Israel's natural resources via the gas deal being negotiated.

"This framework will break up a monopoly and infuse hundreds of millions of shekels for education, welfare and health for all Israeli citizens in the decades ahead," he wrote. "I will not let populist shouting prevent me from improving Israeli citizens' lives."

But Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On did not accept Netanyahu's denial and asked Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to prevent Netanyahu from making decisions on the gas deal, due to his ties with Adelson.

"The prime minister has a clear interest in advancing Adelson's interests, due to his support for Netanyahu and his ownership of a newspaper that backs him," Gal-On wrote to Weinstein.

She participated in a demonstration against the gas deal Saturday night in which she warned against Israel becoming "an oligarchy in which an almighty monopoly controls us with the approval of the government."

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