The Link Between Israel and America’s Natural Gas Boom


By Jeffrey Kupfer

Like the U.S., Israel recognizes the importance of having a secure domestic supply of natural gas, but they also recognize the strategic potentials of exporting it, says Jeffrey Kupfer, a fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

At several government and business meetings I attended in Israel last week, I was surprise to find that Israelis are grappling with many of the same issues that have preoccupied U.S. energy policy during the past few years: a boom in natural gas, and whether to export the extra supply to foreign neighbors. Oddly enough, in a region known mainly for crises and bad news, many see the energy situation as a way to spur economic development and regional cooperation. And they may be right.

For most of its history, Israelis have viewed energy as a source of vulnerability. Indeed, they joke that that Moses must have made a wrong turn, landing in the one Middle Eastern country without vast energy resources. Just 10 years ago, Israel imported almost all of its energy, generating 60% of its electricity with imported coal and using some Egyptian natural gas that passed through the Sinai via a pipeline.

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