Gantz overcomes Bennett's veto to launch Netanyahu 'submarine affair' inquiry

An announcement by Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Friday said the issue would be brought before the government on Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out of the 'Rahav,' the fifth submarine in the navy's fleet, in 2017 (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out of the 'Rahav,' the fifth submarine in the navy's fleet, in 2017
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has reportedly overcome resistance by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to move forward with 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.

An announcement by Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Friday said the issue would be brought before the government on Sunday.

“The establishment of the commission of inquiry is a necessary step in maintaining Israel’s security,” said Gantz. “This is a national necessity, and I thank the prime minister, the foreign minister, the justice minister and all those who support the raising of the motion for a resolution.

“We promised the Israeli public that we would not give up on investigating the affair, and we held up our promise,” said Lapid. “The submarine and vessel affair is the most serious security corruption case in the history of Israel, and every stone must be turned in order to reach the investigation of the truth. This is our commitment to IDF soldiers, to the citizens of Israel.”

Notably, Bennett was not part of the joint message. Multiple New Hope MKs have attacked Bennett for stalling the inquiry until now. Walla reported on Friday that Bennett had been the key player holding up the inquiry since October 31 when Gantz again proposed the idea.

 PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett sits at the government table in the Knesset plenum with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Might Bennett go the way of Sharon, Olmert and Livni? (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90) PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett sits at the government table in the Knesset plenum with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Might Bennett go the way of Sharon, Olmert and Livni? (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

A spokesman from the Prime Minister’s Office did not comment on the Walla report, however, it has also been noteworthy that Bennett and Yamina have generally been lukewarm about initiatives directed against Netanyahu.

While the criminal trial for Case 3000 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.

Unlike two previous attempts by Gantz to move forward on the issue, by October 31, Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar was fully supporting the inquiry and many believed it would be approved in November.

However, according to Walla, Bennett blocked the forward movement of the inquiry in order to delay its start date until after other military deals in the works would be signed with Germany.

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

New Hope MKs have also implied that Bennett was problematically delaying the inquiry.

Bennett and Yamina have at times alluded to not wanting to disenfranchise right-wing voters by going after Netanyahu personally.

Gantz has been pushing hard for such an inquiry since mid-2021, but was thwarted by Netanyahu under the previous government because Netanyahu was prime minister.

The defense minister had also been rebuffed by Sa’ar in the early days of the current government because the justice minister said that rolling out such a commission was his purview.

In the end, it appears that Sa’ar did not oppose Gantz’s idea as much as he wanted control over the powers and setup of the commission.

Some of the core questions the commission are 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 to Israeli security.

Gantz’s rollout also comes around a week after Sa’ar proposed his multiple bills that could block Netanyahu from running for prime minister whenever the next elections come about, due to his being under indictment and in the middle of a trial for public corruption charges.

If earlier in the new government’s term there seemed to be hesitance to use official governmental powers to undermine Netanyahu on these multiple vectors, with the budget having passed, the coalition seems to have concluded that the politics of going after Netanyahu have shifted.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.