Dolphin submarine .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should suspend himself from office if he is questioned under caution in the Submarine Affair, known as Case 3000, Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay said on Monday.
“A prime minister who is questioned under caution for a bribery affair on security matters must suspend himself until the end of the investigation and cannot continue making decisions relating to national security,” he said during a Zionist Union faction meeting in the Knesset.
The Submarine Affair involves the government’s purchase of submarines from the German company ThyssenKrupp, which was represented by Netanyahu’s lawyer and confidant David Shimron. Other figures close to Netanyahu and security officials have been embroiled in the case. Police have repeatedly said Netanyahu is not a suspect.
However, Gabbay’s comments come days after Channel 2 reported that Netanyahu would testify as a witness in the affair and could be questioned under caution as a suspect.
“There is a corrupt government culture in Israel,” Gabbay said, “and whether Netanyahu is questioned under caution or not, the submarine affair is one of the most serious we have seen here.”
The Zionist Union leader added: “When the people closest to the prime minister are acting in a total conflict of interests between the national interest and that of their customers, that is corruption.”
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid has long claimed that Netanyahu will become a suspect in Case 3000.
“It cannot be that Shimron and [Yitzhak] Molho [another Netanyahu confidant] get taken in for investigations at 6:30 a.m.
and [former deputy National Security Council chief] Avriel Bar-Yosef is so involved and not the prime minister,” he said.
“The prime minister needs to explain why he didn’t report the purchasing of the submarines to the security cabinet,” Lapid added, “and why he turned a blind eye to the sale of submarines to Egypt, which he didn’t report to security cabinet either.”