A dolphin-class submarine constructed by German company Howaldtswerke- Deutsche Werft for the Israel Navy.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)
The Prime Minister’s Office denied media reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had direct and active involvement in the deal to purchase submarines from the German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp for the navy.
“Contrary to allegations in the media, the purchase of four surface crafts was conducted in accordance with the recommendations of the navy and the Defense Ministry,” the statement released on Sunday said.
A timeline showing internal discussions about the deal was also released showing that in 2013 the head of the navy recommended moving forward with the purchase of vessels from Germany. A few months later, the Defense Ministry director-general told his office that if a deal with Germany was possible, there was no need to issue a tender.
In July 2014, the Defense Ministry issued tenders for the ship purchases after the German deal fell through. A few months later, the navy requested that the tender be frozen, after Germany signaled its renewed willingness to reach a deal with Israel. A month later, the Defense Ministry froze the tender, and the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on the purchase of the ships in December 2014.
In November, it surfaced that Netanyahu’s trusted lawyer and right-hand man, David Shimron, had pushed the prime minister to make the deal with ThyssenKrupp, even though he faced stiff opposition from the military, including former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Ya’alon reportedly testified against Netanyahu recently in this affair, called Case 3000. According to the report, Ya’alon offered the police details about the contacts Netanyahu held with German officials regarding the acquisition of three submarines and several other warships, which happened without the knowledge of the security establishment.
According to Channel 2, that testimony might turn a preliminary probe into a full-fledged criminal investigation.
Israel has three Dolphin-class submarines and two Dolphin 2-class submarines (another one is expected to be delivered in 2018). The Dolphin 2-class submarines are expected to replace the older Dolphins at a combined cost of NIS 5 billion ($1.3b.)