Defense Minister Benny Gantz is putting together another inquiry committee to look into the submarines affair, to be headed by former State Comptroller Joseph Shapira. Shapira has agreed to the move, but the establishment of the committee has not yet been finalized. This was first reported by Channel 13 News.
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Members of the first committee Gantz established resigned last month to protest the restrictions imposed on them by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit. According to Mendelblit, the committee was permitted to summon witnesses to give testimony, but the witnesses could not be asked about the criminal matters that are the focal point of the case, like the process of Israel’s purchase of a sixth submarine from Germany and sale of a submarine to Egypt in 2010.
In addition, Mendelblit instructed the committee not to summon any of the suspects in the criminal investigation of the submarine and patrol boat procurement (Case 3000), nor take any testimony from them.
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The chairman of the previous committee, retired Judge Amnon Straschnov, said after his resignation that Mendeblit “left the work of the committee empty of any content.” He also told Kan Reshet Bet radio that he had agreed to head the committee because the Defense Ministry had given him the authority to investigate the case with almost no restrictions. The only limitation imposed on that committee was that it had to work “without undermining the proper conduct of the criminal procedures taking place to the extent that they overlap with the work of the committee.”