Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out after a visit inside the Rahav, the fifth submarine in the fleet, after it arrived in Haifa's port.
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
Accusations from the Blue and White Party related to the German “Submarines Affair” are total fabrications, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
“I have not received even one shekel from the submarine deal,” Netanyahu said during a visit to Shiloh in the West Bank.
“The state attorney’s and attorney-general’s offices examined every detail of this matter and unequivocally determined that I am not suspected of anything and that there was nothing wrong with my actions,” he added.
Netanyahu: I didn't earn one shekel from the submarines deal, March 19, 2019 (Courtesy)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz announced Monday night that his party will establish a commission of inquiry into the “Submarines Affair” if it forms the next government. The affair, also known as Case 3000, involves alleged bribery and wrongdoing in the purchase of the vessels from Germany. Several people close to Netanyahu have been embroiled in the affair, including his lawyer and cousin David Shimron. Opposition figures questioned several matters related to the matter, including why the government did not put up a fight when Egypt sought to purchase similar submarines.
In recent days, it has come to light that Netanyahu sold NIS 16 million of company stock related to the affair, though it is unknown how much he bought the stock for and whether he earned or lost money in the deal. Despite this, Gantz and others in Blue and White have represented it as Netanyahu earning NIS 16m. from the submarines deal.
Netanyahu said: “I understand that [Blue and White leaders] Gantz and [Yair] Lapid are very stressed, to say the least, from Iran hacking Gantz’s phone, so they are trying to distract from it.”
Last week, it was reported that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) found that Iran had hacked Gantz’s phone, but there were no sensitive security materials on it.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they have such bad judgment,” the prime minister added. “Because they both supported the disastrous nuclear deal [between world powers and Iran], which I fought, and happily – together with [US] President Trump – we see a change in direction in the US, as well. But they didn’t understand that, and I think they don’t understand it to this day.”
Netanyahu concluded that leading the country “is not for them,” because they do not understand the Iranian threat.
Gantz and Lapid did not openly support the Iran deal, and Lapid publicly argued against it while it was being negotiated, but Lapid did speak out against Netanyahu’s continued efforts to reverse it after it had already been signed.
Earlier this week, Lapid wrote on Facebook that “the problem isn’t [Netanyahu’s] lie, but the harm to security. The world needs to know that the absolute majority of Israelis oppose the nuclear deal. There is no coalition and opposition on this matter. When Netanyahu lies that Benny Gantz and I supported the deal, it helps the Europeans, Chinese and Russians who want to continue trading with Iran. It’s dangerous, it harms Israeli security and it is shockingly irresponsible.”
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