Netanyahu Advances Submarine Deal - and His Lawyer Represents the Germans Behind It

According to a Channel 10 report, Netanyahu pushing to promote deal with company against wishes of IDF and former defense Minister. Netanyahu denies report, says he never spoke to attorney about his clients.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out of the Rahav, a submarine widely believed to be capable of firing nuclear missiles, Haifa, Israel, January 12, 2016.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out of the Rahav, a submarine widely believed to be capable of firing nuclear missiles, Haifa, Israel, January 12, 2016. Baz Ratner, Reuters

Attorney David Shimron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal lawyer, also works on behalf of a representative for the German company hoping to sell Israel submarines.

According to a Raviv Drucker and Channel 10 news report on Tuesday, Netanyahu is pushing to advance the deal where Israel would purchase three submarines for nearly 1.5 billion euros, despite the Israeli military's opposition. Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also attempted to derail the deal.

Miki Ganor, the representative of the German company in Israel, spoke to Haaretz but refused to address the report or provide details about his involvement in the deal. Ganor denied the report's claims concerning his connection with Shimron, saying "there's no connection between the report and reality."

According to the report, Ganor and Shimron worked together in recent months to move vessel maintenance service from the navy shipyard to Ganor's company. The two met with Histadrut labor federation chairman Avi Nissenkorn and the chairman of the IDF workers in attempt to obtain workers' consent.

The Channel 10 report did not highlight Ganor or Shimron's involvement in the purchase of submarines. Netanyahu first addressed the issue two weeks ago when the Knesset's winter session convened, claiming that Israel is expected to purchase three more submarines from Germany. The German government has confirmed the details, and sources in Germany have made it clear that the government is expected to help finance the deal, similar to the previous Israel-Germany deals.

According to an Israeli Navy officer, the three submarines will be integrated within the decade and will replace three older submarines.

Shimron said in response: "I have not spoken with any state officials concerning the privatization of the naval shipyard, and I have not dealt with any state officials on the issue of vessels purchased by the State of Israel. Concerning the meeting with the Histadrut chairman, it's true that we believed if the navy maintenance would be moved to the private sector, it would be advisable to hold a dialogue with the trade unions. I did not discuss these matters with the prime minister."

A response on behalf of the prime minister said that "Netanyahu does not know Ganor and does not know of any connection between him and Mr. Shimron, who has never discussed matters relating to his clients with the prime minister. The only reason behind the deal with the Germans is strategic and economic considerations."