Cabinet to approve 'submarine affair' probe on Sunday

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's cabinet will be voting to approve a state commission of inquiry into 'submarine affair', with a clear majority being for the probe in the cabinet.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out after a visit inside the Rahav, the fifth submarine in the fleet, after it arrived in Haifa's port (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out after a visit inside the Rahav, the fifth submarine in the fleet, after it arrived in Haifa's port
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s cabinet will vote on Sunday to approve a state commission of inquiry into Case 3000, the so-called “Submarine Affair” involving former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several of his top aides.

There is a clear majority for the probe in the cabinet, even though Bennett is expected to abstain and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin (New Hope) will vote against it.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White), Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope) are strongly in favor of the investigation.

“The establishment of the commission of inquiry is a necessary step in maintaining Israel’s security,” Gantz said last week.

Lapid called the submarine affair “the most serious security corruption case in the history of Israel” and said every stone must be turned in order to reach the truth.

 Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz seen during a discussion on the Electricity Law connecting to Arab and Bedouin towns, during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, January 5, 20 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz seen during a discussion on the Electricity Law connecting to Arab and Bedouin towns, during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, January 5, 20 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Case 3000 involves allegations of a mix of criminal misconduct and general policy-making misconduct in a series of deals with Germany regarding nuclear-powered submarines and other sea vessels.

While the criminal trial for the case has proceeded forward against several of Netanyahu’s former top aides, the former prime minister was never a suspect, which means a state inquiry would be the first time he would truly face any major public consequences for his personal role in the affair.

Some of the core questions the commission is expected to examine are whether Netanyahu acted appropriately in completing aspects of the submarine deals with Germany behind the backs of the defense minister and top IDF officials, and whether the submarines were necessary.

A demonstration in favor of the probe will be held outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The organizers of the demonstration said any minister who did not vote in favor was “spitting in the public’s face.”

The cabinet is also set to vote on Sunday to approve payments to family members of victims of the Meron disaster.

The Knesset is set to vote this week on the IDF draft bill after it was narrowly defeated last Monday.

There will also be votes on a large bill with new coronavirus regulations and payments for independent workers in isolation.

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.