The Otzar, the Treasury, said: All right, although you are a subsidized State-owned fossil sorry corporation, you are allowed to submit competitive bids. If you are selected, you are in. I remember the meetings at the Water Authority where the elders laughed, and said that Mekorot cannot compete and if assigned one project (following the usual cost-plus system), it will be unable to build it. Mekorot answered that its minimum price was 10% above the private sector competitors. My bosses at the Water Authority gave the Ashdod plant project to Mekorot without bidding.
Now I realize that I should have protested forcefully against a decision that would cost tens of million dollars for the Israeli taxpayer just because Mekorot had to be involved in the desalination business. I had a strong case. But I am super submissive to authority and knew that my bosses were all tightly linked (sentimentally, socially, economically) with Mekorot. They all did occasional well-paid consulting work for Mekorot, as I did.
The project is an absolute disaster. It never worked and it requires an additional 50 to 100 million dollars of repair work to start producing drinking water. The Otzar and Bank HaPoalim (that financed part of it) are trying to sell the white elephant.
There was talk about organizing an investigative commission to learn the causes of disaster, but apparently there was so much corruption, many millions of dollars misspent or unaccounted for, by people that sits in the current coalition government, that it was silenced. If I was a different kind of person, I could have protested (and be fired, as I was anyway). But I am me.