Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this evening that he is fully adopting the Sheshinski Committee recommendations on gas and oil revenues. He said, "Until recently we criticized Moses, one of mankind's great historical leaders because he did not know how to navigate. Firstly because it took him 40 years to lead the Children of Israel several kilometers, and secondly because he came to a place without water, gas and oil."
He added, "Now it is clear that he did not make a mistake. We have succeeded in creating, without natural resources, one of the world's leading economies. We lead the developed countries with our growth rate, and we have found gas, a lot of gas although not as much as the public has been talking about. This gas can now help us nurture excellence."
Netanyahu continued, "Therefore, I have decided to set up a fund for the fruits of the revenues. The fund will be dedicated to three aims: education, education and education, and one other thing - defense. So that we can enjoy the fruits, we must bring the gas out from under the sea. We must get it out. To get it out we need the proper balance between two requirements: incentives for business and benefits for the citizens of the State of Israel."
"Israeli and foreign investors took risks and put lots of money into this and it is only proper that they receive payment for their work. That is one need. But there is a second need - the need for Israel's citizens who own the assets. To balance these two needs I asked my friend the Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz to set up a committee with experts headed by Prof. Eytan Sheshinski, which has done serious work."
"The committee submitted recommendations. I have studied them at length, consulted with the ministers of finance, national infrastructures and environmental protection and Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer. I have consulted, considered and now it is time to decide. I have decided to fully adopt the Sheshinski conclusions. The committee found the right balance between the needs of investors and citizens."
Netanyahu added, "Israel's enemies will try to damage this gas and oil project and therefore we will secure them - and provide full defense for them."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 18, 2011
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