Recent breakthroughs in Israel’s relations with its neighbors in southern Europe point to a sanguine outlook on the future for its economic relations in the Mediterranean, and Europe in general. Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed an agreement on March 4 to develop an underwater electric cable linking Israel’s energy reservoirs to the European continent, with the main cable stretching the 287 kilometers between Cyprus and Israel. The remaining cables will pass from Cyprus to the Greek island of Crete, and then onto the Greek mainland. The cost of the entire project will be about 1.5 billion euros by its expected completion in 2016.
The Israeli Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau, along with the Cypriot Ambassador Dimitris Hatziargyrou, Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Loukakis and several Israel Electric Corporation officials signed the deal that will have far-reaching consequences throughout the region. Landau put it superbly: “Israel is connecting with Europe, this is also marking Israel as an Island of stability in the region.” Although the project is due to start soon, the goal is to finish what has been called the “Euro-Asia Interconnect”. What is most important is that all three countries hope to gain from the deal: economic vitality and leadership in the interconnected European markets.
Indeed, there do seem to be high hopes for the deal as it will verify Israel’s potential and give it an image of a lucrative business partner, in comparison to the scenes of suicide bombers and protests over the West Bank and Gaza. The last few years it seems that Israel has suffered tremendously in the public eye of much of the world, being scrutinized over internal and foreign policies incessantly. Yet, as many Jews who have visited or are well-informed about Israel know, the country has created many opportunities for business growth and the implementation of new technology. We must continue to support such endeavors in Israel because it highlights the Jewish homeland’s positive ventures.
Alan Meskin, 19, is from Sparta, N.J., and is a freshman at Rutgers University, where he is pursuing a double major in biology and psychology.