Opinion

The visionary move that changed Israeli-European relations

Once our tiny country joins the ranks of Europe's energy suppliers in the winter of 2022, power relations will have fundamentally changed.

Israel's Leviathan gas-processing rig near the Israeli city of Caesarea, Jan. 31, 2019. Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL.
Israel's Leviathan gas-processing rig near the Israeli city of Caesarea, Jan. 31, 2019. Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL.
Ariel Kahana
Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.

Anyone who has lived in Israel over its first 70 years must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief. Tiny Israel, whose economy has historically been dependent on Europe, recently feared a European boycott against it and had almost zero natural resources, is now the one “coming to Europe’s aid in a time of need, and will supply natural gas to Europe during the coming winter.” Those words still don’t seem real.

Not to be misunderstood: The balance of power in this relationship has not been reversed. Israel, for now, will only supply a small portion of Europe’s energy needs. Moreover, the Europeans have chosen to buy Israeli gas because they aren’t suckers, as Putin assumed—and not just him. In other words, the Europeans aren’t in our pockets.

And yet, once our tiny country joins the ranks of Europe’s energy suppliers—and the European Union has recognized our value in terms of security, science and technology— power relations will have fundamentally changed. From the winter of 2022, Israeli stock will be far more valuable. And this is after its value had already risen due to upheaval in Arab countries and the COVID pandemic.

Deserving of all praise on this front are Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and her predecessor, Yuval Steinitz. Elharrar erred when she decided not to issue new drilling permits for 2022, but responded quickly and correctly to the Egyptian-European request for Israeli gas.

Steinitz, meanwhile, fought hard, along with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to extract the gas from the ocean floor. Without them, none of it would have happened. Thanks to them, Israel enjoys low prices, has been spared an economic crisis and is also improving its regional and international standing in the midst of a global energy crisis. We can only pray for more wise and visionary initiatives of this sort.

Ariel Kahana is Israel Hayom’s senior diplomatic correspondent.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates