Minister Gabbay, French Prime Minister Valls at Inauguration of Israeli Solar Park
Minister Gabbay (l) at inauguration of Zmorot Solar Park
"Israel has plenty of sun, natural gas, and technologies, but we also have too much bureaucracy. Our goal is to make things more efficient here." That was the message from Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay, at the inauguration of the Zmorot solar park, in the Lachish region of Israe. The park was built by French group EDF. Gabbay was joined at the inauguration by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who arrived in Israel on Sunday, May 22, 2016.

​Minister Gabbay: "We are grateful to France for the success of the [UNFCCC] Climate Summit in Paris, not only because of its international accomplishments, but also because it helped raise awareness of the issue of air pollution here in Israel.

We have a plan [to reduce pollution] and a budget for it, and we will achieve our goal through a series of steps we have already begun – in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and improvements in transportation.

The main cause of pollution in Israel is coal used in Israel Electric Corp. power stations. Since the Paris Climate Conference, we have succeeding in reducing the use of coal by 19%, and will continue well beyond that.

I am optimistic about international targets and about our targets in Israel. I believe that change will happen through new technologies, and Israel can lead the world in this field.

We have a lot of sun in Israel, and we also have natural gas and technologies. On the other hand, we have too much bureaucracy and our goal is to make things more efficient here.

As in other countries, Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection is more focused than other ministries on promoting renewable energies, but I am optimistic, after a change in the importance the Energy Ministry attaches to this issue.

I am grateful to EDF, which was particularly patient in dealing with our bureaucracy, and hope you invest in similar facilities in the future.

I also thank France for being a true friend to Israel. Although we have differences of opinion regarding the peace conference, it is clear that you are working with concern for Israel and its security.

As we all know, environmental problems have no passport and do not stop at the border. This is a good start to peace, and we will be happy to see you involved in joint projects with our neighbors."