Following Energy and Water Ministry decision to allow oil explorations in Golan Heights, Eitam’s Genie Energy is first to vie for license

Amir Ben David
Published: 08.15.12

Three months after the State reaffirmed a decision to allow oil explorations in the Golan Heights, former leader of the National Religious Party Efraim Eitam has submitted the first request to do so.

Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau decided to renew drilling permits in the area in May.

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According to a Tuesday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, the permit request was filed by Genie Energy International, which Eitam heads. The application is controversial as the company seeks to explore for oil shales in Adullam Valley.

Back in May, Energy and Water Ministry officials said that Eitam was privy to the deliberations that preceded the decision to renew drilling permits in the politically sensitive area. Eitam denied the report.

Genie Energy is a subsidiary of US-based IDT, headed by businessman Howard Jonas. Jonas has contributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2007 primaries campaign and to to Landau’s primaries campaign in 2005.

Genie Energy is also the parent-company of IEI, which is currently pursuing a controversial oil shales exploration project in the Valley of Elah.

As a first request for drilling permit has been made, the Energy and Water Ministry will soon have to make it public and allow other companies to submit competing bids.

Genie Energy was unavailable for comment.,7340,L-4268568,00.html