Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to win re-election on Tuesday, partly because he has resisted the left as well as international pressure to conform to the international community's narrative by betraying his constituency and by surrendering to Palestinian demands, says political scientist Dr. Amiel Ungar.
A look from the inside out reveals a different country than the one portrayed in the international media. Israel is emerging as an energy superpower.
Leading Chinese companies are looking for investments in Israeli technology to help boost their growth and development, similar to what U.S. companies have done in the past two decades. Many technologies in applications and products from companies such as Google and Intel originated in Israel, and Chinese companies would like to explore similar ventures.
Chinese have invested $3 billion in Israeli companies to date. The biggest investment was the $1.4 billion acquisition of 60 percent of MA Industries, the world's largest maker of generic crop protection chemicals, by China National Chemical Corp in late 2011.
Major Chinese exporters will build and finance most of a high speed railway linking Israel’s Red Sea and Mediterranean ports - from Eilat to Ashdod. This would allow tankers and freighters to avoid the Suez Canal, which borders Egypt, as well as cut the time frame from canal usage in half. Israel has quietly been preparing for the possible erosion of its landmark peace accord with the neighboring Arab power, with the rise of Islamist parties.
Israel, reliant on imported energy since the state’s foundation in 1948, now has more natural gas than it can handle. Recently discovered, the Leviathan gas field, located off the Mediterranean port of Haifa, has estimated gas reserves of 481 billion cubic meters, enough to supply Israel’s needs for 150 years.
Woodside Petroleum, Australia's largest oil and gas firm, has bought a 30% stake in Israel's Leviathan field. US-based Noble Energy has a 30% stake in the field, Israelis Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each have 15%, and Ratio Oil Exploration owns 10%.
There are plans to build a pipeline from the gas discovery area to Cyprus and on to Greece. This will help Greece with some of its financial troubles. The production for Israel's domestic gas market will start by 2016.
Netanyahu calls for exporting about 57% of the country’s natural gas reserves, leaving 450 million cubic meters of gas for the domestic market, enough to supply the country with gas for the next 25 years, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The Canadians and Russians are stepping up energy relations with Israel as they suspect Israel’s newly discovered oil fields could rival or even surpass Saudi Arabia’s. And South Sudan has signed an agreement with several Israeli oil companies, taking their business away from Iran. An Israel with vast energy endowments may be less coolly received in certain circles than it is today.
Israel is a major exporter of fresh produce and a world-leader in agricultural technologies despite the fact that the geography of Israel is more than half desert, and the climate and lack of water resources do not favor farming. Only 20% of the land area is naturally arable. Netafim, a world leader in smart drip and micro-irrigation, trains people from all over the world to take their technology to their countries, as well as send Israelis to those countries that need assistance.
“Every year, people from many countries attend seminars in Israel and travel the country. They all are surprised and go home talking about what great people and great country it is,” said Netafim technical manager, Samy Gorodezky, 51, who is from Kibutz Merhavia in Northern Israel near Afula,and is working in Santiago, Chile. Last year Gorodezky worked on the largest project in the world: irrigation for sugar canes in Peru to produce ethanol for Maple Gas Co.
Netanyahu supports wastewater use and increased water technology research, new pipe infrastructure to convey treated wastewater to agriculture and rivers. He promotes the revival of previous flows in the entire country’s streams, targeting polluted waters in Judea and Samaria for cleanup, and building rainwater collection reservoirs and a sewage treatment facility there.
In anticipation of the election, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel conducted a survey about the importance of environmental issues to the public as they head to the polls.
Of the approximately 500 people surveyed of all ages and genders throughout Israel, 75 percent deemed environmental issues essential to the quality of their lives and 71% felt that it was critical that Knesset candidates have environmental agendas.