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Government approves energy minister’s pick for new director-general

Elharrar says Lior Shillat has the ‘creative thinking, determination and perseverance’ needed to help transition Israel to greener economy

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

The new director general of the Energy Ministry, Lior Shilat, October 24, 2021. (Energy Ministry)
The new director general of the Energy Ministry, Lior Shilat, October 24, 2021. (Energy Ministry)

The government on Sunday approved the appointment of a new Energy Ministry director-general, Lior Schillat.

Shillat — the choice of Karine Elharrar (Yesh Atid), who became energy minister in June — will replace Ehud (Udi) Adiri, who served for four years under the former Likud minister, Yuval Steinitz.

Shillat, 43, has spent the past 15 years working in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, heading the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research (formerly the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies) since 2016.

He began his career as an adviser to prime minister Ariel Sharon, going on to direct the Department of Coordination, Inspection, and Evaluation in the Prime Minister’s Office.

In that post, he managed several large government projects, among them programs for the economic development of Jerusalem and development of the capital’s Old City Basin.

A father of two, Shillat holds master’s degrees in energy and geopolitics from the French IFP School and The Fletcher School at Tufts University in the US.

Energy Minister Karin Elharrar during a meeting of the Arrangements Committee at the Knesset on June 9, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Elharrar, who appears to be putting more focus on renewable energy than did her predecessor, described Shillat as “the right person to serve as CEO at a time when creative thinking, determination and perseverance are needed to promote the transition to green energies and ensure a reliable and low-emissions energy economy for the State of Israel.”

Shillat’s brother, Yaniv Shvinkelstein, quit his business development job at Chevron (formerly Noble Energy) this month.

Chevron operates Israel’s two natural gas wells and platforms, Tamar and Leviathan, and initial news of Elharrar’s choice of Shillat sparked concerns about a possible conflict of interest.

Shillat serves on the board of several Israeli organizations, including New Spirit Jerusalem, Nativ and the Ariel Sharon Leadership Association. Between 2009 and 2018 he served on the board of governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

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