Ehud Barak Joins Ya'alon in Call for Investigation Into Submarine Deal Scandal

'Submarines are crucial, the public's trust is even more crucial,' former PM and defense minister says.

Ehud Barak during a conference in Rishon Letzion, August, 2016.
Tomer Appelbaum

Ehud Barak, a former prime minister and defense minister, called for an investigation to be opened into Israel's submarine deal with a German firm.

"Submarines are crucial, the public's trust is even more crucial," Barak said in a tweet on Saturday. "There are many questions. Therefore, as Bogie says, it must be investigated," Barak tweeted, using former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's nickname.

Barak said the investigation should also take place in Germany and should also be retroactive.

Israel’s political leaders and defense establishment are currently roiled by revelations of alleged conflicts of interest regarding a huge military deal involving a German company represented in Israel by non-other than Prime Minister Netanyahu's personal lawyer. Haaretz found that David Shimron, Netanyahu's confidant and attorney, was also appointed to the board of a firm advising to ThyssenKrupp, the German conglomerate that already sold six submarines to Israel, and hoping to sell even more.

In his first public comments on the affair, Ya'alon said on Thursday that he had "vigorously opposed" increasing the country's submarine fleet, and adding that they were not needed at the time and would not be needed in the coming years.

"My position was also based on professional, thorough and comprehensive staff work performed by the IDF and the Defense Ministry," said Ya'alon, who stepped down as defense minister in late May. "I don't know what was done and what was signed after I left the Defense Ministry." Ya'alon said that the recent reports, starting with those by Channel 10, were "very disturbing and require a comprehensive investigation by the relevant parties."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, however, on Friday tweeted: "About the submarines: Prime Minister Netanyahu isn't corrupt. He would never sell Israel's security for money."

On Tuesday, Channel 10 reported that Shimron also represents an Israeli businessman named Miki Ganor, who works for the German shipyard building the submarines at issue.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement on behalf of the National Security Council saying that the purchase of German submarines “was done in an orderly and professional process with no outside influence and with the recommendation of all the professional bodies in the security establishment.”

A senior navy officer told Haaretz two weeks ago that "Israel has no intention of having seven, eight or nine submarines. When the agreement is signed in Germany, the new subs will replace the older ones."