By: Alex Krebs, `13
Golda Meir, the former prime minister of Israel, once said, “why did Moses lead us to the one place in the Middle East without oil?” This has been the irony of Israel, because it is a Middle Eastern country that lacks natural resources. However, all of this changed when two major gas fields, Tamar and Leviathan, were found off the coast of Israel. Not only will the natural gas allow Israel to become energy independent from its neighbors, but it will also allow Israel to export natural gas to the surrounding region. This is extremely significant for a country that has historically spent about 5% of its entire GDP on importing energy.
Most of my research has focused on the possible political issues that could result from the natural gas finding. In particular, there is a lot concern over the increasing tension between Israel and Lebanon. Shortly after Israel discovered the gas fields, Lebanon announced publicly that the gas fields belonged to Lebanon and not Israel. Another dimension of this issue is that technically Israel and Lebanon are at war; therefore, maritime borders have not been defined. Without the mediation of another country, it appears as if war may again occur between these two countries.
I became interested in this topic primarily because of my cultural and religious connection with Israel. I also became fascinated with the question of what an energy independent Israel could mean to the region and to the world as a whole.