Although the path to final approval of contracts to develop Israel's natural gas resources is not clear yet, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu celebrated the Knesset's approval of a framework on gas development Monday.
Speaking after the vote won by 59 to 51, Netanyahu said that the approval marked “a great day for Israel."
"I am committed to bringing the gas to the Israeli economy, the hundreds of billions for the education, social welfare and health of Israel's citizens, and tens of billions for investments and jobs," the Prime Minister stressed.
The passage of the deal is an important step in finalizing contracts with developers Noble Energy and Delek Drilling, who hold the franchise for exploring and developing the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields. However, those contracts may still be some time away.
"There is one more obstacle but when I want to achieve something, I achieve it. There will be gas for Israel," Netanyahu vowed. "I want it for the citizens of Israel, to lower the cost of living, to channel vast sums to the state coffers for energy security."
That obstacle is a section of the bill not voted on Monday that would transfer authority over the contracts with Noble and Delek from Economy Minister Arye Deri – who refuses to support the deal – to the cabinet.
But Netanyahu was confident the issue would be resolved and the deal "achieved. We are moving forward step by step and overcoming one obstacle after another."
"They told us at the outset: We have not seen the outline so we opened the outline. They told us to improve it; we improved it. They told us to submit it to the Cabinet; we did so and it was approved. They told us to submit it to the Knesset and we approved it by majority vote.
"Now we have one obstacle left and we will overcome it because it is the right thing for the citizens of Israel," the Prime Minister concluded.