(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Former Defense Minister and IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon delivered a body blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday, asserting in a television interview that his former boss and current political rival was involved in a multi million dollar submarine deal that is currently the subject of a corruption investigation.
Ya’alon who left the Defense Ministry and the government to start a new political movement last year, threatened to “go public and tell everything,” if the investigation into the allegations, dubbed in Israel case 3000, didn’t produce an indictment.
Ya’alon said that while he knew about other prime ministers who were corrupt, "it’s a completely different thing when a prime minister shifts priorities, prefers this or that motive, perhaps even monetary gain, over the interest of the state of Israel."
Case 3000, or "the submarine case," involves allegations of corruption relating to a 2014 deal with German company ThyssenKrupp to sell the Israeli navy advanced submarines, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Netanyahu’s personal lawyer and close confidant David Shomron, was hired by the firm to mediate the sale and benefited from it greatly.
While a criminal investigation was launched, authorities have stressed that the prime minister is not a suspect.
Sources close to Netanyahu responded, saying Ya’alon's statements were “complete nonsense and lies” and that they would be revealed as such shortly. The source added that Ya’alon would be wise to seek other ways to gain political capital.
The threat of new developments that would embroil the longtime prime minister in the case have hung over the coalition for the last six months.
As recently as Monday, rival politician Naftali Bennett head of the Jewish Home Party said he would leave the government if Netanyahu was indicted.
Netanyahu is also the subject of two additional investigations regarding alleged acceptance of gifts from wealthy businessmen seeking to curry favor and dealings with a media mogul exchanging favorable coverage in return for helpful legislation.