Israel’s sovereign wealth fund to ‘avoid direct investment’ in fossil fuels

The chairman of the Fund told a parliamentary committee that the decision had been taken not to invest in oil and gas companies

Israel’s sovereign wealth fund “will avoid direct investment” in oil and gas companies, the fund’s chairman said on Tuesday.

Yoram Ariav told a Knesset (Israeli parliament) committee overseeing the fund that the decision was made on Monday not to invest in fossil fuels.

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The Israeli Citizens Fund was created to invest in windfall profits from the discovery of natural gas and other natural resources.

The Ministry of Finance and the Tax Authority officially launched the fund on June 1 after meeting the minimum threshold of $301 million (1 billion shekels) set in the 2014 law that established the fund.

Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed a transfer order for NIS 1.14 billion of accrued levies.

The fund was expected to start operating in 2018. However, political unrest and a slower flow of revenue have caused delays.

The fund contains revenue from excess profit taxes imposed on Israel’s natural gas deposits in Mediterranean territorial waters and the production of natural resources, including potash, bromine and phosphates.

Israel discovered huge deposits of natural gas in the Mediterranean a decade ago, with major production starting in 2013.

Most of the silver comes from the Tamar gas field, located in Israel’s exclusive economic zone, about 80 km west of Haifa in the Mediterranean Sea.

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