Government approves commission of inquiry into submarine purchase affair

January 24, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s government voted on Sunday in favour of the establishment of a state commission of inquiry into the purchase of submarines for the Navy, which was allegedly entangled with corruption.

The 5th submarine of the Israeli Navy – Rahav – arrived at the sea base in Haifa 2016      Photo by Yissachar Ruas/TPS

With a majority of 26 ministers who voted in favour, one who voted against, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett who abstained, the mission will probe the processes that led to the purchase of submarines from Germany for Israel’s Navy.

The case, also dubbed Case 3000, alleges that senior Israeli officials received bribes in exchange for their promotion of the acquisition of a Dolphin-class submarine for Israel’s navy from the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp.

Officials close to former Prime Minister Netanyahu are suspected of using their ties to promote the deal, against the objections of Israel’s defence establishment and against the essential needs of the country.

Several indictments have been filed in the case, including against Miki Ganor, who served as an agent for the ThyssenKrupp Corporation in Israel, and against the former deputy head of the National Security Council, Aviel Bar-Yosef.

An indictment was also filed against the former director of the Prime Minister’s Office, David Sharan, former chairman of Keren Hayesod, Eliezer Zandberg, Businessman Shai Brosh, Political Adviser Rami Tayeb, and Media Adviser Yitzhak Lieber.

Despite the indictment of several close associates of Netanyahu, the prime minister is not suspected of any wrongdoing in the case and has been cleared by the relevant authorities.

However, Netanyahu’s political opponents, currently ministers in the government, pushed for the inquiry.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated after the vote that “the government-approved my proposal to establish a state commission of inquiry into the purchase of submarines and naval vessels. The establishment of the committee is a first-rate security need, and a clear message is that Israel’s security cannot be compromised.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also welcomed the establishment of the committee and said that “the shady business entailing the purchase of the submarines and vessels is a stain on state security and state leadership. Five years ago we promised a state commission of inquiry to investigate the affair, and despite all the pressure and opposition, today it happened. For IDF soldiers, for IDF commanders, for the security of the State of Israel, we will investigate this affair to the end.”

Netanyahu’s Likud party stated in response that “the first thing the committee needs to look into is how anyone who has opposed the purchase of three more submarines over the years – suddenly approved the purchase, and with the addition of billions of shekels at the expense of the public, that would have been saved if the submarines had been purchased on time.”

After years of delay, the government signed last week a deal with ThyssenKrupp to purchase another three submarines.

“The purchase of the submarines is essential for maintaining Israel’s security, and it is a scandal that it has delayed until now because of failed politicians who have harmed state security to serve idle political claims,” the Likud charged.

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