Thirty years ago I visited an oil rig at Atlit, a town on the Mediterranean shore just south of Haifa. It had been erected by an American Christian company whose CEO, citing a peculiar interpretation of a biblical promise to the Tribe of Asher (Deut. 33:24), was certain he’d find huge quantities of oil beneath the western border of that tribes ancient territory.
The company ended up losing millions of dollars. But just 15 years later, Israel discovered vast natural gas fields a mere 50 miles west of Atlit in the depths of the Mediterranean, suggesting that these Christian dreamers weren’t terribly off the mark by believing God would bless Israel with significant amounts of fossil fuels.
Thirty-five trillion cubic feet of gas worth some USD $500 billion has been found in Israel’s “economic waters,” with the Leviathan field being by far the largest. To give some kind of reference point, Israel’s national expenditures for 2013 totaled USD $114 billion.
More importantly than covering the national budget is the fact that, for the first time in history, Israel has the opportunity to become energy-independent, as well as a major exporter of natural gas. More