Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, and Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer, today (Wednesday, 19 June 2013), decided to increase to 60% the amount of natural gas designated for the Israeli market.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, National Economic Council Chairman Eugene Kandel, and Prime Minister's Office Director General Harel Locker, I would like to tell you Harel, to tell all of you, I thank you for the hard work that you did, along with Shaul Tzemach and his team, and everyone who was involved.
The State of Israel received a gift from nature in large quantities of natural gas. After a series of long meetings, we have jointly decided to significantly increase the amount of gas for Israel's use. This will supply our needs for 25 years. This is a balance between the need to ensure energy sources for Israel's citizens and the need to export gas which will generate revenue for use by Israel's citizens. Israel expects to earn $60 billion from gas exports.
We will bring this decision for the Cabinet to approve on Sunday. We want to get this approved very quickly. We certainly do not want to be like the countries that delayed in making decisions and were left without gas in the end. Instead of the gas staying in the ground, or under the sea in our case, we want to begin to produce gas and to fill the state's coffers with billions of shekels that will allow us to ease the economic burden on the public, and, of course, to see to our important national needs. We have defined them and we have established a fund to deal with these needs, in such a way that our economy will not be hurt and our state will derive much benefit.
I think that there is additional importance in what we are doing here today. We must continue growth and we need growth engines. There are several growth engines that the government has already started to deal with energetically, including structural reforms such as the major reform of the ports, which is important and which is approaching. There is also the opening of new markets, the first of which, of course, is the Chinese market. But gas is a third growth engine and vigorously developing gas is one of the things that will herald growth and progress for the State of Israel.
I would like to thank my colleagues here who worked together, I will surprise you, very harmoniously, very seriously, even quietly, without unnecessary leaks and with the professional team that worked very well. I would also like to thank you, Shaul, I know that you invested considerable time. We have been working on this for a long time, starting with the previous government but here, the current government quickly decided to bring the issue to a close and bring gas to the State of Israel. Thank you."