Gantz reportedly decides to probe Submarine Affair

The Defense Ministry denied the report.

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz pass each other in the Knesset last year. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz pass each other in the Knesset last year.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
In a move that could signal the end of the government, Defense Minister Benny Gantz has decided to establish a formal commission of inquiry to investigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his role in the purchasing of submarines and other naval missiles, Channel 12 reported Wednesday.
The report said the commission would be enabled to force Netanyahu and his closest associates to testify. It would be headed by a retired judge and include former IDF officers.
In the past, Gantz has said there was no point in forming the commission because Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said it was not needed and that he did not want to act as the opposition within the government. The Likud responded that “the only thing that has changed since then is Blue and White sinking in the polls and looking to gain votes by targeting the prime minister with worthless maneuvers.”
The Defense Ministry denied the report, saying that the process of checking whether to open the investigation has not yet been completed.
The Movement for Quality Government, which requested the probe, said it needed to be accompanied by a criminal investigation of the prime minister.
The so-called “Submarine Affair” is an ongoing scandal involving a multi-billion dollar submarine deal with Germany’s ThyssenKrupp AG conglomerate in 2016, also dubbed “Case 3000,” in which the political class have made accusations against Netanyahu despite his being cleared by law enforcement.
Mandelblit has alleged that senior Israeli officials were bribed to advocate for the purchase of unnecessary extra submarines and military boats from ThyssenKrupp.
“The subject of the submarines is serious. It deserves to be investigated,” Gantz told Ynet. “What can be done within the defense establishment is limited to what can be done within the defense establishment. Nevertheless, I am familiar with the section that allows me to set up an investigation within the Defense Ministry.”
The Likud responded angrily to Gantz’s comments. “Everyone knows that the Submarine Affair was meticulously scanned by all law enforcement agencies, even those known for their hostility to Prime Minister Netanyahu, that even they were forced to state that the allegations amounted to nothing,” the Likud said. “It’s time for Gantz to work for the citizens and not for the polls.”
Among those close to Netanyahu and already implicated in the affair are lawyer David Shimron, a confidante and cousin of Netanyahu’s, David Sharan, a former chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Avriel Bar-Yosef, a former deputy national security advisor – all of whom are expected to be indicted by Mandelblit.
But the attorney-general concluded that there is no proof that Netanyahu knew about the scheme, and that at most, he pushed for buying the vessels under suspicious circumstances.