Israel’s natural gas.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Economy Ministry Director- General Amit Lang on Sunday presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a shortlist of candidates to become the new antitrust commissioner, just days after Netanyahu acted to circumvent the Antitrust Authority on the country’s natural gas plan.
Lang, headed the five-person search committee that nominated Uri Schwartz, who has been acting head of the Authority since Gilo’s departure in August, and Michal Halperin, who leads the Antitrust and Competition Group at the Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal law firm, from a group of 24 applicants for the job.
Once Netanyahu makes his selection, the government will have to approve the nominee.
On Thursday, in his capacity as economy minister, Netanyahu signed off on Article 52 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Law (1988), thereby invoking a legal clause to circumvent the commissioner’s objections and authorizing a controversial plan to regulate Israel’s natural gas industry.
The previous antitrust commissioner, David Gilo, had opposed the gas-regulation scheme, saying it was giving too much market power to gas companies Noble Energy and Delek Group.
Gilo resigned in August in protest of ongoing government efforts to pass the deal into law and the position has remained vacant since.