Gantz Calls for Inquiry After Report That Netanyahu Profited From Submarine Affair

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a naval base in Haifa, February 2, 2019.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a naval base in Haifa, February 2, 2019. Credit: Chaim Tzach / GPO

Benny Gantz, chairman of the Kahol Lavan party and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief rival in the election race called for the establishment of an official state commission of inquiry to investigate Netanyahu after a news report about the premier's involvement and alleged profiting from the sale of submarines to Egypt. 

Channel 13's Raviv Druker reported Sunday that Amos Gilad, a retired army general and former head of the diplomatic-security division of the Defense Ministry, told police that Netanyahu gave Germany approval to sell advanced submarines to Egypt.

Haaretz Weekly, Episode 19

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Gilad said he had raised reservations about the sale and approached an adviser of Chancellor Angela Merkel on the matter. Gilad told police that the adviser, Christoph Heusgen, said Netanyahu was the one who had given approval for the sale.

In the past, Netanyahu denied he had given such approval and said he was never asked about it. The Prime Minister’s Office it was a “fruitless and desperate to resuscitate an affair that has died.”

Dubbed Case 3000, the affair involves alleged corruption surrounding the $2 billion deal to purchase submarines and missile boats for the Israel Navy from the German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp.

Gantz called the suspicions of corruption in the contracts “the most serious corruption affair in the country’s security history.”

Earlier this month, Channel 13 News reported that Netanyahu had been a partner with his cousin Nathan Milikowsky until 2010, and they had owned shares in a company, GrafTech International, that was a supplier to Thyssenkrupp, the German shipbuilder at the center of the submarines affair.

Gantz mentioned the accusations that Netanyahu made 16 million shekels ($4.4 million) from the deal, and said: “These are things that cannot be comprehended, unreasonable and I hope untrue.” Gantz added that Netanyahu possibly traded Israel’s security for personal profit. He said Netanyahu, “who has three indictments against him and some backhanded deal, made money for himself at the expense of [Israel’s] security. … I am sorry that he has lost his way.”

Likud called Gantz’s comments shameful. “On a day in which an IDF soldier was murdered, Lapid and Gantz are trying to forcibly resuscitate the submarines affair in which it has already been determined that Prime Minister Netanyahu was never linked to it. [Netanyahu] did not earn a shekel from the submarines deal.

“This is a libel spread by a man in distress who has lost his judgment. So far, Gantz has not admitted his mistake in supporting the nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime that hacked into his telephone,” said Likud.

In November, police announced they had found sufficient evidence against David Shimron, Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, confidant and cousin – he is also Milikowsky‘s cousin – to indict Shimron for bribery in the submarines affair, along with five others. The police did not find sufficient evidence to recommend an indictment against Isaac Molho, Shimron’s law partner and brother-in-law, who was also a close confidant of Netanyahu and who served as his special envoy on numerous diplomatic matters.

Police did not recommend to indict Netanyahu in this affair, in which he was never a suspect.

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