Israel's Submarine Scandal: Israel Police Interrogate Former Top Defense Ministry Official

Amos Gilad, who worked at the ministry for 13 years, was involved in all major weapons purchases

Amos Gilad at a conference in Herzliya in 2013.
Tomer Appelbaum

Maj. Gen (res.) Amos Gilad, a former top official at the Defense Ministry, gave testimony on Tuesday concerning the investigation into possible corruption in a state deal to purchase submarines.

As head of policy and political-military affairs division at the ministry, Gilad was involved in every major weapons deal over the past 13 years. He is said to have key information on what took place when Egypt bought submarines from the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp – a sale that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon opposed.

ThyssenKrupp also manufactures the submarines used by the Israeli navy and is at the center of the submarines scandal, known as “Case 3000.”

Gilad was questioned by the elite Lahav 433 police investigations unit, often called the Israeli FBI. He left the Defense Ministry in March after 13 years there. He would have played a major role in determining Israeli policy on weapons purchases, both by Israel and its neighbors in the region.

Earlier on Tuesday, an Israeli National Security Council official said the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the sale of three submarines by the German shipbuilder to Israel has been postponed. The signing of the MOU was meant to take place next week in Germany, but the event has been delayed indefinitely.

On Monday, it was revealed that businessman Michael Ganor, who is at the center of the submarine scandal and who brokered the agreement between Israel and Thyssenkrupp, is in the process of striking a deal to become a state witness.

Sources involved in the case say that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit gave prosecutors a green light to reach an agreement with Ganor, who is ThyssenKrupp’s representative in Israel. Ganor’s lawyer, Nati Simhoni, resigned due to these contacts. Prosecutors are now trying to examine and verify the partial information Ganor has provided, which they will not be able to use if the deal is not signed.

Jacques Chen, the lawyer for the former deputy head of the National Security Council and former navy admiral Avriel Bar-Yosef, told Haaretz on Tuesday that his client would not become a state’s witness in the case. He has no reason to do so, said Chen.

Zion Amir, the lawyer for former Israeli Navy chief Eliezer Marom, said no attempts have been made to get his client to turn state’s evidence. Marom will not be a state’s witness because he did not commit any crime and has answered all the questions the police have asked, said Amir.