Germany Authorizes Massive Deal to Sell Submarines to Israel, Report Says

Deal for three submarines has faced police scrutiny due to role of Netanyahu lawyer; deal valued at 1.5 billion euro

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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.Credit: Baz Ratner, Reuters
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Germany's national security council has authorized the sale of three submarines to Israel, the Der Spiegel weekly reported. The deal is currently the focus of an Israeli police investigation into possible wrong doing involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal lawyer and the German ship maker's local representative.

According to the report, the German government included a clause into the agreement allowing it to cancel the deal if the allegations in the case that has been dubbed "Case 3000" prove to be true.

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As part of the so-called "Submarine affair,"Israeli police are looking into allegations that Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, advisor and cousin David Shimron lobbied defense officials on behalf of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp for a multimillion dollar submarine sale, as well as the sale of military ships needed to defend Israel's off-shore gas reserves.

ThyssenKrupp is represented in Israel by local businessman Michael Ganor, whose personal lawyer is Shimron, raising breach of trust suspicions. Shimron and Netanyahu deny that Netanyahu knew about the link.

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As part of the deal reportedly authorized this week, ThyssenKrupp will supply Israel with three submarines and the German government will help finance the deal, valued at around 1.5 billion euro. The submarines are expected to replace older submarines that the Israeli navy expects to be retired within a decade.

Police are currently focusing their investigation into the deal to buy gunships intended for defending Israel's gas reserves, and which are also being purchased from ThyssenKrupp.

In the past it was reported that the former commander of Israel's navy, Eli Marom, was the one that pushed for ThyssenKrupp to replace its local representative with Ganor. Israel's former defense minister, Moshe Ya'alon, who opposed the deal at this time, claimed that he believes the investigation will yield indictments.

In April, Israel and Germany agreed to call off the deal in the event the Israeli police investigation substantiates the allegations. Officials from both countries say the recent agreement was added as a new clause to the draft memorandum of understanding on the purchase at the insistence of the German government.

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