An agreement over the financial future of Israel’s gas fields passed a vote in the Knesset Monday by a vote of 59-51, inspiring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stand up in applause as the results were announced.
“This is a great day for the State of Israel, ” said Netanyahu after the vote. “I am committed to bringing the gas to the Israeli economy, the hundreds of billions for the education, social welfare and health of Israel’s citizens, and tens of billions for investment and jobs.”
The deal constitutes an agreement between the government and two major companies, Delek and Noble, to allow for the production and sale of natural gas found off of Israel’s coast several years ago.
Critics of the deal have called Delek and Noble’s ownership of the gas fields a duopoly, and called on the government to strike a deal with the business giants that would introduce greater competition into the market, hopefully lowering prices for Israelis, and making the product more competitive in the international market.
The details of the deal were released by negotiator and Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz in June, revealing that domestic prices would be limited and Israelis would maintain a 70 percent stake in Leviathan, the larger of Israel’s two gas fields.