The Dolphin-class submarine first entered service in 2000.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Zionist Union faction chairman Yoel Hasson announced over the weekend that he would use his parliamentary immunity to leak potential police recommendations on a possible investigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the “submarine affair,” also known as Case 3000.
Police have repeatedly said that Netanyahu is not a suspect in the case, in which Israel purchased expensive and questionably necessary submarines from a company that was represented by his lawyer and confidant David Shimron.
But that could change soon, with Channel 2 reporting Friday night that Netanyahu would testify as a witness in the affair and that afterwards he could be questioned under caution as a suspect.
If that happens, the police’s recommendations on whether to indict the prime minister could be subject to the new “recommendations law.”
Hasson said he would ask the Knesset legal adviser for a ruling if and when Netanyahu becomes a suspect in the affair. If the legal adviser rules that the police cannot publish their recommendations due to the new law, Hasson said he would leak their findings to the press himself.
“The public must receive the information in such a serious scandal,” Hasson said. “I will not lend a hand to hiding information from the public.”
The “recommendations law” states that at the end of an investigation, the police will give the district attorney all of the materials it gathered, and, separately, its written stance as to whether indictments should be handed down or not, along with the evidence to back up that opinion. If the police investigation took place with an accompanying prosecutor from the State Attorney’s Office – which happens in cases involving elected officials and senior civil servants – then the police will not submit a call for an indictment in writing.
However, the attorney-general or state attorney can ask the police to give its opinion in writing if they consider it to be necessary to make a decision. A police opinion that a case should be closed may be given in writing without a specific request from the attorney-general or state attorney. Leaking a police recommendation or other evidence in a case carries a prison sentence of up to two years.
Because Case 3000 opened before the law was passed, some legal authorities believe the police could publish any recommendation to indict the prime minister if he becomes a suspect. But others say that because he was not a suspect when the law was passed, the police would not be able to publish their recommendations.
Hasson’s Zionist Union colleague, MK Nachman Shai, said it was clear to him that Netanyahu was the main force in favor of purchasing the submarines. He said the police should check all the evidence provided by Netanyahu’s defense minister- turned-nemesis, Moshe Ya’alon.
“An investigation of Netanyahu in the ‘submarine affair’ has been necessary for a long time,” Shai said. “It is not reasonable that so many of the prime minister’s associates have been questioned and suspended themselves, while he has remained outside the fray.”
Likud MK Oren Hazan said over the weekend that if Netanyahu faces corruption charges, he must suspend himself and allow the party to choose a new leader.
“If he is brought down by corruption, we cannot let the entire Likud fall with him,” Hazan said.Yonah Jeremy Bob and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.