Israel’s Electricity Chief Facing Removal

( – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently told a local television station that the “intense phase” of the country’s war with Hamas in Rafah was quickly drawing to a close. He said Israel’s next goal was to end Hezbollah’s attacks along the country’s northern border. However, not everyone agrees with this plan. An influential Israeli CEO is facing potential removal after he spoke out against the prime minister’s proposed strategy.

On June 20, Shaul Goldstein, the CEO of the Israel Independent System Operator Ltd (NOGA), warned attendees at a conference hosted by the Institute for National Security Studies that Hezbollah could easily disable Israel’s power grid. He noted that living in the arid country would “be impossible” after a 72-hour blackout. “We are not in a good state and unprepared for a real war,” he concluded.

The head of the state-owned electricity systems management company attempted to walk back his comment shortly afterward during an interview with the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (aks Kan). Goldstein said he “said irresponsible things,” adding, “I shouldn’t have.” Unfortunately for him, that admission might prove to be too little, too late.

On June 25, Globes, one of Israel’s most prominent Hebrew-language newspapers focusing on business and economics, reported that Goldstein could lose his job over those remarks about alleged vulnerabilities within Israel’s electrical grid.

According to Globes, Sami Turjeman, the chairman of Noga’s board of directors, called for Goldstein’s dismissal.

Israeli Energy Minister Eli Cohen issued a statement responding to the CEO’s remarks. He said the country’s electricity and overall energy infrastructure were “robust and ready to [handle] all possible scenarios,” including a war with Hezbollah. He also noted that the likelihood of a 72-hour power outage was low.

Meir Spiegler, the CEO of Israel’s Electric Corporation, echoed those remarks. He also said Goldstein’s comments about the power grid were “irresponsible, disconnected from reality,” and unnecessarily created public panic.

It remains unclear whether NOGA’s board will oust Goldstein.

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