Dolphin submarine .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The sale of three German submarines to Israel will take place after the investigation into alleged graft surrounding the deal is completed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. The prime minister spoke a day after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale was postponed due to the investigation, which concerns some of Netanyahu’s closest confidants and the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp’s representative in Israel.
Netanyahu said that the Germans were waiting for the results of the investigation, and that the deal will then be signed. “Let the investigation be conducted,” he said.
Regarding allegations that Israel gave a green light for the sale of German submarines to Egypt, something that some believe damages Israel’s security interests, the prime minister said that this was a German decision. “We did not decide to approve or not approve,” he said. “We expressed our opinion, and everything else that is being publicly said about this is irresponsible.”
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who was a member of the security cabinet in Netanyahu’s last government, said last week that the prime minister gave Germany the okay to sell Egypt the submarines.
“I am responsible for Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said.
“The desire to harm me has no boundaries, and is now damaging Israel’s security – this is irresponsible.”
He stressed that he did not know about the involvement of his personal lawyer and close confidant David Shimron in the submarine deal.
Regarding the house arrest and investigation of former navy commander Eliezer Marom, Netanyahu said that the decisions on the submarines within the security establishment were all transparent.
“I am not judging people, and they have the presumption of innocence,” he said.
I don’t know if anything will come of this.”
Netanyahu also came to the defense of Shlomo Filber, another close confidant and a former director-general of the Communications Ministry, who is under house arrest as part of a securities investigation into Bezeq and other companies controlled by businessman Shaul Elovitch. Netanyahu said he knows Filber as someone who is “straight and principled.”
Meanwhile, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday that Miki Ganor, ThyssenKrupp’s representative in Israel who reportedly is on his way to turning state’s witness against Marom, Shimron and other top defense officials in the submarine affair, may also be a source for evidence in an expected probe concerning Environmental Ministry director-general Yisrael Danziger.
On Tuesday, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira requested that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit open a criminal investigation regarding Danziger’s actions relating to the debate over closing Haifa Chemicals Corporation’s ammonia storage facility in Haifa Port.