June 17, 2005

ISN'T IT ENOUGH THAT THEY CONTROL ALL THE BANKS?:

Moses's oily blessing: Two seekers for oil in Israel may be getting close to the prize (The Economist, Jun 16th 2005)

In the 1980s John Brown, a Catholic Texan cutting-tools executive, and Tovia Luskin, a Russian Jewish geophysicist and career oilman, both had religious epiphanies. Mr Brown became a born-again Christian, while Mr Luskin joined the orthodox Jewish Lubavitch movement. Soon after, each found inspiration in chapter 33 of the book of Deuteronomy , in which Moses, nearing death after guiding the tribes of Israel to the border of the promised land, leaves each tribe with a blessing.

The most lavish goes to Ephraim and Manasseh, the two tribes descended from Joseph (he of the technicolour coat). Their land, says Moses, will yield the “precious fruits” of “the deep lying beneath”, of the “ancient mountains” and of the “everlasting hills”. In this text Mr Luskin saw, says his company's lawyer, “a classic description of an oil trap”. Where geological sediments are bent into an arch, the boundary at the top between an older layer (the “ancient mountain”) and a newer one can trap oil—the “precious fruits”. Mr Luskin named his company Givot Olam—“everlasting hills”. Mr Brown had a more mystical revelation, but one that pointed to the same area: the biblical territories of Ephraim and Manasseh, between today's Tel Aviv and Haifa. He registered his firm as Zion Oil.

Both men spent the following years raising capital and grounding their visions in science. Seismic studies confirmed the arched rock layers that Mr Luskin was looking for. Mr Brown pinpointed an area with evidence of buried Triassic-era coral reefs, which are usually porous and store oil well.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 17, 2005 11:08 AM
Comments

I once attended a speech by Abba Eban in which he commented that Israel was on the one small part of the Middle East that didn't have oil underneath it.

Posted by: PapayaSF at June 17, 2005 12:55 PM

And then there are those who tried to find oil in the portion of Asher a while back - I believe they were unsuccessful ~

"ASHER SHALL DIP HIS FOOT IN OIL" - (Deut.
33:24)

But best of luck to these new (ad)venturers.

Posted by: obc at June 17, 2005 1:21 PM

There's an old joke from the 70s there, someone kept yelling at Moses from the back turn the opposite way Moses was told to go.

Posted by: Sandy P. at June 17, 2005 1:34 PM

Another old joke along the same lines is that the People of Israel went to Canaan because Moses lisped. He was trying to say Canada.

Of course you'd have to be Canadian to find this amusing in view of what Canada has become.

Posted by: obc at June 17, 2005 6:44 PM
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