Billionaire entrepreneur Yitzhak Tshuva, a man whose parents couldn’t afford to buy him a watch for his Bar Mitzvah, is now planning to undertake an even greater project on himself.
The self-made Real Estate and business wheeler dealer is now planning to become fully involved in the construction of the proposed “Red-Dead” canal, that is hoped will not only save the Dead Sea from drying up, for lack of water, but result in fresh water from desalination and the generation of electricity as well.
The monumental project has been under consideration for some time, and had reached a state that the Kingdom of Jordan has almost decided to undertake the project on its own – until Tshuva decided to become involved.
In a report by Israel’s Globes financial newspaper, Tshuva gave a speech at the opening of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in which he said that his project of developing some off shore gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean will make Israel completely energy independent for some time and may even resulting Israel becoming an energy exporter.
He added that with this in mind, “I have dreams of Israeli energy being a ‘blue-white product’ and also have dreams of electricity generation and water desalination.”
While his speech was meant to give optimistic encouragement to his country being able to pull itself out of the current world economic crises, he also spent time talking about environmental issues such as water resources and saving the Dead Sea, which a previous Green Prophet article notes has been nominated as one of the seven modern wonders of the world.
Tshuva’s own success story is as amazing as the story of Israel itself. He hails from very humble beginnings, and reached where he is today through nothing more than sheer determination, combined with an uncanny ability to size up and undertake risks which have made him one of Israel’s wealthiest citizens.
Almost without formal education ( “I hire these kind of people to work for me” he was once quoted as saying), Tshuva does not forget growing up in Netanya, where he spent his boyhood; and still refuses to wear a watch, due to his parents not being able to afford to buy him one.
Tshuva’s, Delek Energy Ltd. the one that will be involved in both the natural gas production and the canal projects, is one of the most successful companies in Israel, and also includes a big stake in gas stations, high profile real estate, and convenience stores in the USA. The company has a huge stake in Israel’s off shore natural gas reserves, reportedly larger than first estimated.
His dream of the Red-Dead canal project bringing in a million jobs is largely based on the number of “spin-off” industries and businesses which will develop upon completion of the project.
The tycoon also wants to become more involved in building more desalination plants to turn salty Mediterranean Sea water into fresh drinking water, using natural gas to fuel the plant facilities. “I have no doubt that in the not too distant future, Israel will not have a water problem, because it will be possible to desalinate water from the Mediterranean Sea at a cheaper cost than to take water out of Lake Kinneret,” he told his TLV Stock Exchange audience.
The entire idea has not been without controversy, however, as precious Green Prophet articles, like one on May 19: “Jordan to Launch Red-Dead Canal Without Israel” and followed by another on July 2: “Red-Dead Canal Announcement Stirs controversy”, indicates there appears to be a “great race” as who will be the major player in thid project, once it gets underway.
With an entrepreneur like Tshuva entering the fray, there’s no telling how this undertaking will end up. But with a guy like Yitzhak Tshuva at the helm, Israel is sure to come out a leader.
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