Finance Ministry Yuval Steinitz said Tuesday that requests coming from the gas companies not to implement new gas taxation on the Tamar rig could cost the public NIS 40 to 50 billion, Israel Radio reported.
Instead, he continued, the money would be pocketed by the gas companies and their investors.
In an assembly meeting called in Herzliya, the finance minister said that the requests of the gas companies is arrogant and without any lawful justification, and that he would not cave to threats or intimidation. He added that Israel faces a crucial decision that such countries as the US, Canada, and Britain have faced before, and that if Israel is a working democracy it will not bow to the pressures of private interests.
The finance minister, along with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is expected to meet with managers and representatives of the gas companies Tuesday to discuss new taxation legislation on oil and gas drilling.