Tamar gas field.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
MK Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) on Sunday slammed Shas chairman Arye Deri's decision to step down from his role as economy minister in order to allow the government’s gas plan to move forward.
"Deri's resignation for the sake of the dirty deal in which [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu can run an unprecedented clause in Israeli law - the 'koshering' of a private monopoly and the granting of enormous power to Tshuva and Noble - is a dirty trick and an irrational and dubious move," the MK said, referring to gas giants Delek Group owner Yitzhak Tshuva and Noble Energy.
The Shas minister’s departure from the Economy Ministry will allow the gas outline, which was approved by the cabinet in July, to be implemented, because Deri refuses to invoke Article 52 of the 1988 Restrictive Trade Practices Law (the Antitrust Law), which allows an economy minister to circumvent the objections of an antitrust commissioner in matters of foreign relations or national security.
Deri has pointed out that the article had never been invoked before and that he did not want to set that precedent, asking that his authority to use it be transferred to the entire cabinet.
Former antitrust commissioner David Gilo’s resignation from the post went into effect September 1, but no new commissioner has been chosen who could authorize or reject the plan.
"I am sure that one day all of the corrupt aspects of the natural gas affair will burst out," Yacimovich said. "The gas [deal's] outline is so outlandish, without reason, wrong and hurtful, and constitutes another wild benefits package for the gas companies.
"All those involved in loud or quiet support, in their abstention or silence, better prepare their alibis right now, because the day they will be asked to be held accountable for their moves is not far off," she concluded.
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Netanyahu also spoke of Deri's resignation in Sunday's cabinet meeting.
"Minister Deri told me of his intention to resign from the Economy Ministry in order to complete the [gas] process. The ministry will be transferred to me and I will approve the outline," he said. "Today we are taking a big step toward the promotion of gas supply to the State of Israel. Gas will be Israel's No. 1 growth engine in the coming years." Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.
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