Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is lying about why he green-lighted Germany to sell nuclear submarines to Egypt when he says there is a too-secret reason that he cannot reveal, former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo told Channel 11 late Wednesday night.
Pardo said there was no way that neither the IDF chief, the defense minister nor himself – the Mossad chief at the time – would all be ignorant of such a secret – and he said that he only learned of Netanyahu’s green-lighting the sale from the media.
The former Mossad chief also said that there was no reason to think that Germany would be upset with the Mossad’s conduct in a way which would have led Netanyahu to secretly green-light the deal with Egypt to smooth over tensions.
On Sunday, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit published a letter denying that Netanyahu had told him the secret about why he green-lighted Germany’s desire to sell submarines to Egypt.
Netanyahu and the Likud had said in interviews over the weekend that Mandelblit knew the classified reason why the prime minister removed Israel’s opposition to Germany selling submarines to Egypt and had found his reason lawful.
This is a hot-button issue, because Blue and White Party leaders have said that Netanyahu endangered Israeli national security with that decision and others in Case 3000, the “Submarine Affair,” keeping the defense establishment in the dark purely for the sake of personal benefit.
In contrast, Mandelblit sent a letter to the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, explaining that all Netanyahu had done was tell police he had a secret reason for green-lighting the sale.
Netanyahu also offered to tell Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan the reason in private.
However, Mandelblit explained that since Netanyahu was only questioned as a witness in Case 3000 and not as a suspect, they decided at the time that it was unnecessary to meet with him over the issue.
It remains unclear if Mandelblit will demand that Netanyahu reveal the alleged secret basis for green-lighting the deal, now that he recently opened a new initial review of the prime minister’s conduct in the “Submarines Affair” based on information which only emerged in February.
Netanyahu was not a suspect when the police gave their full report on Case 3000 to Mandelblit in November.
The Jerusalem Post has also spoken to sources who indicated that one reason Netanyahu might have gone along with the Egypt deal was that it was expected Egypt would succeed in acquiring submarines.
In that case, it was preferable that they acquire a design with which Israel was familiar, as opposed to a less familiar design from Japan, France, South Korea or elsewhere.
Some sources have said that Netanyahu’s decision appears to be sound, now, after the fact.
The Likud responded by expressing satisfaction that in his statement, the attorney-general wrote that the sale of submarines from Germany was solely a security issue and that Netanyahu offered to update him on the classified information but Mandelblit told him there was no need.
Netanyahu spoke to Mandelblit from Washington on Sunday and offered to brief him on the classified information upon his return.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.