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Israel adopts ambitious energy plan

01-31-2011 11:22 BJT

JERUSALEM, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli cabinet on Sunday okayed a 1.5-billion-shekel (about 408 million U.S. dollars) national plan to develop technologies to reduce the global use of oil in transportation over the next decade.

Additionally, officials said they will work to raise billions more shekels from external sources, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.

The measure is part of an inter-ministerial plan, officials said, which is aimed at coming up with solutions to cut a rising global dependency on oil and oil-producing countries, which in their words "causes instability in the global economy and harms the environment through the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases."

The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry's Chief Scientist will work to encourage investments in the field, assist companies navigating the regulatory process, and increase the research and development budget.

The comprehensive plan will bring together under one roof, the ministries of Industry, Trade and Labor, National Infrastructures, Finance, Defense, Environmental Protection, Science and Technology, Transportation and Road Safety, Agriculture and Rural Development, among others.

"I view this as a national and strategic goal of the State of Israel," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Sunday's cabinet session.

"Oil addiction has led to the Western world's dependence on the oil countries, and significantly damages the environment," said Netanyahu, who noted that although Israel is physically a small country, "we are great in science and research ... the intention is to harness strong research, scientific and technological forces and link them with other bodies so that Israel will be the leader, the catalyst in research in this field."

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon's office will take on the lion's share of the plan.

"The plan utilizes Israel's scientific and technological capabilities in order to implement a strategic goal on both the national and global levels," Simhon said.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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