Religion Magazine

Tamar Gas Flow Starts on a Shabbos

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
The flow of gas from the Tamar gas field will be a tremendous boon to Israel. I don't know if the tycoons will get richer off it and leave the rest of us behind, as some suspect, or if all of Israel will directly benefit, but it is a boon nonetheless - it makes us that much less dependent on foreign suppliers, such as Egypt. Egypt has been known to both shut off the supply of gas when upset at Israel over one thing or another, and at times the gas pipeline has been the target of terrorism, halting supply for days at a time. Having our own supply of natural gas will make us less affected by Egypt's political situation.
Tamar Gas flow starts on a Shabbos
I would like to see prices of electricity come down as a result of this, but the cynic in me says that this is not going to happen, at least not in any significant way. As a matter of fact, the Electric Company just recently announced that it is considering raising the prices of electricity by an additional 3%, above and beyond all the recent increases, in order to cover the losses they are taking by supplying the Palestinian Authority with gas but not getting paid for it.
A separate aspect of the Tamar gas flow is the opening of the flow this past Shabbos. Could they not wait one day, after all this time? Sure, neither the government of Israel is religious, nor are [most of] the workers or owners (my assumption) of the gas field, and maybe this is no concern of theirs. However, such a significant development of Israel could have taken some cultural sensitivity into account and waited one more day, or even 3 more days until after Pesach, but one more day would have been enough. Was it really so important to start the flow immediately that one day was too significant to wait? Even President Shimon Peres said to Rav Ovadiah on Sunday that it was a mistake for them to rush to start the flow of gas on Shabbos, though it is possible that this was just paying lip service to make Rav Ovadiah happy..
For a country with just about 65 years of modern history, and a few thousand years of greater history, and no available natural resources, the start of such resources including significant chillul Shabbos, even if just in symbolic appearances, is a good example of why more Jewish culture/tradition/history should be taught in schools.
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