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Israel’s Dramatic Energy Turnaround

What are the possibilities and limits of Israeli natural gas, and what is the country’s energy trajectory in the Middle East?

Israeli natural gas rigs in the Mediterranean Sea, September 2, 2015. (Flash90)
Israeli natural gas rigs in the Mediterranean Sea, September 2, 2015. (Flash90)

After decades of energy dependence, Israel discovered offshore natural gas reserves that have fundamentally changed its energy dynamics and led it to deepen ties across the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The country is suddenly a net energy exporter to Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinians, while Gulf states have shown preliminary indications that they would like to develop such ties as well.

Yet these reserves are also a source of tension with regional neighbors Turkey and Lebanon. What are the possibilities and limits of Israeli natural gas, and what is the country’s energy trajectory in the Middle East?

Host David Makovsky discusses this major decision point with Amit Mor and Ephraim Sneh.

Amit Mor is the CEO of Eco Energy Ltd. Over the past eighteen years, he has served as a consultant to governments, financial organizations, and companies in Israel and abroad in the fields of petroleum, natural gas, power, infrastructure, and the environment.

Ephraim Sneh, a retired Israeli general, served in several cabinets as deputy defense minister and other roles. He currently chairs the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at Netanya Academic College.

Audio clip from “PM Netanyahu’s Statement at the Trilateral Meeting between Israel, Greece and Cyprus”

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“Decision Points” is a Washington Institute podcast on key moments in Israel’s history and present. The first season focused on the history of U.S. Israel relations and the second season focused on key Israeli and Arab leaders. The third season focuses on Israel’s toughest contemporary policy dilemmas.

The host, David Makovsky, is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow in The Washington Institute’s Irwin Levy Family Program on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship and director of the Koret Project on Arab-Israel Relations. He is a former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, as well as a sought-after expert in U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations and territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Guests include Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.; Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former Israeli government minister; David Petraeus, former CIA Director; and Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister.

The podcast is both a history lesson and an exploration of contemporary policy decisions impacting Israel, the United States, and the Middle East at large.

Subscribe to “Decision Points” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you listen.

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