Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today attended the final Knesset Economic Affairs Committee discussion of the natural gas plan.
The committee will hold its concluding internal session on the matter next week. Netanyahu, who until today avoided specific comments about the issue, merely saying that he would “not give in to demagoguery, ” came to the meeting determined not to let anyone to interrupt him.
The main message that Netanyahu attempted to deliver was that the gas plan was important to Israel’s security. Netanyahu claimed that the proposed plan was vital for the existence of the State of Israel, as it would ensure the country’s energy security.
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He revealed that Israel’s power plants were hit in the past by rockets launched by terror organizations, arguing that the development of additional gas fields is necessary to lower the threat on Israel’s energy resources.
“Without supplies, we would not be able to operate electricity systems, and when electricity systems go down, they bring down the entire country. We’ve witnessed it during storms. People wouldn’t be able to heat up their homes, ” he said.
Netanyahu sought also that exporting gas was important to Israel’s diplomatic and economic relations. The prime minister declared “A country that exports things critical to the environment and to other countries has much more power. Alliances and peace are not made with the weak.”
Economic Affairs Committee chairman Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) claimed that the gas plan was not a strategic matter of foreign and defense policy, because the stability of the regimes in the region did not depend on Israel’s natural gas.
Netanyahu replied, “If the supply of gas is affected, the country will enter a crisis. Had we but a single power station, we would use all our means to protect it, because if you damage this link, you put the country into a crisis. You deny that our concerns are security and foreign relations. The opposite is true – we want to safeguard Israel’s energy security. What does that mean? Every country depends on a regular supply of energy. Everyone here knows it. There are also consequences for our security systems. If our gas supply, which is becoming the main source for the production of power, is affected, our national security will suffer real damage.
“Ensuring the supply of gas is essential not only to the country’s functioning, but also to its existence. Countries in the modern era cannot chop trees in the woods for energy. All of our operational systems depend on a supply of gas. I regard the gas supply as a foundation of national security.”