Moses was undoubtedly the greatest leader in the history of our people and one of the greatest leaders in the history of mankind.  Everyone admired his incredible virtues, but there was one thing for which he was criticized, until recently.  He was not such a good navigator.   First of all, it took him forty years to cross a distance of only a few days walk, and as it turned out, he chose one of the few places in the Middle East that had no natural gas, very little water and not one drop of petroleum.  Now it appears that he was not wrong, because in the years since the establishment of the State, our most important natural resource turned out to be the brains, hearts and talents of the citizens of Israel.  And by fostering these talents and nurturing entrepreneurship, we succeed in creating, with no natural resources, one of the leading, most developed economies in the world.  With the pace of our growth, we are currently leading the club of developed countries, the OECD.  So, as it turns out, Moses was not wrong.

Now we know that he was right about one more thing, because we discovered natural gas, quite a lot of gas – not as much as is described in the media, but a lot of gas.  And this gas can help us to continue nurturing our natural resource – the skills and capabilities of our younger generation and our future generations.    I have decided to use the gas revenues to establish a fund for Israel’s future, and this fund will be dedicated to three main goals plus another one: education, education and education.  Education in elementary schools, education in high schools and higher education.  And the other goal is security.  We need to safeguard our land.  These are the two fundamental goals that we will realize with the gas revenues. However, in order for us to enjoy these fruits, we must extricate the gas from the sea, and in order to extricate the gas, we need to find the correct balance between two needs. One is to incentivize the entrepreneurs.

These investors, big and small, Israelis and foreigners, are people who believed, took risks and invested large sums of their own money, and they deserve our full appreciation and they also deserve to reap the fruits of their labor.  This is one need.  But there is also a second need, and that is the need of the people of Israel, the State of Israel, who are in fact the owners of this asset, the owners of this natural resource.  And I have described the main goals we intend to address through the natural gas.

In order to balance these two needs, I asked my friend, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is a leader in this area, to establish a committee of experts.  He did establish such a committee, headed by Professor Shishinsky, and comprising very serious and important people who did very serious work.  Two weeks ago, the Committee submitted its recommendations. I studied them thoroughly and consulted with Finance Minister Steinitz, Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau, Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan, the Governor of the Bank of Israel, Professor Stanley Fischer, the Chairman of the National Economic Council, Professor Eugene Kandel, and the Director General my office, Eyal Gabbai.  I consulted, studied, reviewed, and now it is time to make a decision.  And I have decided.

I decided to adopt the Shishinsky Committee’s recommendations in full.  I believe that the Committee found the correct balance between the needs of the citizens of Israel and those of the investors, including the incentives that must be given to them and to the entrepreneurs.

This natural resource, as well as the gas project as a whole, is undoubtedly a strategic asset which the enemies of Israel will try to target.  I have therefore decided that the State of Israel will participate in the defense of its assets, specifically this project.  I have instructed the Finance Minister to present the government with a proposed resolution on Sunday so that we can make a decision and move towards legislation, and I hope that this legislation will be carried out as soon as possible.  I call upon everyone – ministers, Knesset members, investors, entrepreneurs and the public – to show responsibility and unite around the goal of the quick supply of natural gas to the State of Israel.

My friends, this is a great day for Israel’s economy, a great day for the education of the children of Israel, and a great day for the future of the State of Israel.  Thank you very much.