In a large saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes. Add the water, rice, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
Stir 1 tablespoon of salt into the rice. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the bay leaf and thyme. Stir in the olives, parsley, chopped basil, lemon juice and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the rice into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the goat cheese and basil leaves; serve.