Economy Minister resigns
Israel’s Economy Minister, Aryeh Deri, has resigned his portfolio according to a statement made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday.
The portfolio has been taken over by the prime minister and he announced his intention to push through a deal to work offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. The deal, between US energy company Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek had been delayed by the country’s anti-trust authority because it said the deal will create an effective monopoly. The Minister had refused to overrule the authority for more than a year but with his resignation the prime minister is determined to press ahead.
The relevant press statement from the prime minister’s website is as follows:
“PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:
“Today we are taking a major step toward advancing the supply of gas in the State of Israel. Natural gas will be the number one growth engine in Israel in the coming years. We are talking about an investment of very many billions of dollars already over the next two years and the creation of related industries, which will provide many jobs for the citizens of Israel. The gas supply will help lower energy costs and the cost of living. It also gives energy independence to Israel. We will not be dependent on foreign energy sources – this is very important for the State Israel. It will pump hundreds of billions of shekels, over the next 20 years, to the citizens of Israel, to the social welfare, education and health budgets – which is very important to the country.
The arguments that led us to this point remind me of the debate that once surrounded Highway #6. There were heated arguments about Highway #6, and today no one understands how the state ever managed without Highway #6, and it really did not manage. The same will happen with the gas outline. I think that within one, two or three years, everyone will understand that it was a necessary step. I promised that we would approve the outline, and today we are taking the most significant step to do so.
Minister Deri informed me of his intention to resign from the Economy Ministry. In order to complete the process, the ministry will pass to me and I will approve the outline. To the Galilee and Negev Development Ministry will be added responsibility for the social periphery; it will be called the Negev, Galilee and Periphery Development Ministry. Later I am certain that we will find an additional way to properly express the status of Minister Deri as the head of an important party in the coalition; he is an experienced and veteran minister.”