Natural gas has started pumping from Israel's offshore Tamar gas field to Israel's refineries and the international status of previously energy-poor Israel suddenly changed. The Tamar field has an estimated 10 trillion cubic feet of gas - sufficient to meet Israel's energy needs for decades and allowing surplus for export.
larger Leviathan field, as yet undeveloped, has an estimated 16
trillion cubic feet of gas. Lebanon, still technically at war with
Israel, claims some of the Leviathan field is in its waters.
Other countries, including Russia, the largest gas supplier in Eastern Europe, are interested.
Weeks after he won the Israeli election,
Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu managed to form a coalition
government, retaining control over foreign affairs and national defence.
His problems are many. The nuclear
threat from Iran continues, with no evidence of a serious effort to end
it. Six or seven months ago, an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites
seemed likely. The killing of Iranian nuclear scientists and sabotage
attacks at nuclear sites, culminating in a reported major explosion at
the giant underground Fordo plant in January, have bought time.
Israeli strategic affairs minister Yuval
Steinitz called for world powers to set a deadline of weeks for
military action to persuade Iran to halt its enrichment programme after
talks with Iran ended without progress.
disintegration in Syria is a constant headache. Syria has large stocks
of chemical weapons. There are constant fears that these could fall into
the hands of people who would use them against Israel - and for
have been continued rocket attacks from Gaza, riots on the West Bank
that could lead to a third intifada, and some attacks from the Syrian
side of the Golan. Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza remained armed
with tens of thousands of rockets. The Israel-Egypt peace treaty is in
3,000 years ago, King David appealed for people to "Pray for the peace
of Jerusalem" (Psa 122:6). The exhortation is as needful as ever it was.