Is oil a friend or enemy of Israel?

Spot the contrast.

On one side of the page, Israel is reducing its dependence on oil. For example, Better Place is the world’s foremost company in the electrical car revolution. It has alrady secured commitments from over 55,000 owners, who are seeking to replace their oil guzzling vehicles.

And a ministerial committee is promoting a joint public and private sector initiative worth a billion dollars. The aim is to seek commercially viable oil alternatives. Impressive, at least on paper.

But in the other column, we find that vast chunks of Israel’s countryside are being cut up and replaced with oil wells. Yes, Israel is in the middle of a speculation boom in the search for black gold.

A typical story emerged at the end of last week, concerning one of the country’s leading tycoon’s, Yuri Ofer.

(His) new oil exploration venture hasn’t struck oil yet, but after numerous announcements and hullabaloo, it finally struck its first deal in the industry. TheMarker has learned that Ofer bought 10% of the Sarit drilling license for offshore Ashdod last night from Jacob Luxenburg’s Lapidoth Heletz.

The Israeli government has voiced its concern at the prospect of a shares bubble. There is to be a temporary halt in the granting of new gas and oil licenses. Prices of stocks in the sector  plunged on the news.

Who was effected by the fall? Market analysts believe that it is mainly speculators, who are involved in the trading. The “average person” is seen as reluctant to get his hands dirty. This feeling was confirmed, when one Hebrew newspaper reported that the local mafia was connected to some of the exploration companies.

If oil was to be discovered in commercial quantities, the country’s economy will quickly take on a different appearance. I fear that Dubai will have a strong rival in the opulence stakes. 

And now for irony number two. Yesterday, Israel recalled the anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, which led to a quadrupling of oil prices on the world market. The economic power of her enemies soared beyond belief. 

Nearly 4 decades later, Israel has yet to learn if she wants to copy her neighbours or find an alternative way to economic and social achievement.

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One Comment on “Is oil a friend or enemy of Israel?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

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