Israel's Submarine Scandal: Two Netanyahu Confidants Detained for Questioning

Attorney David Shimron and another close associated detained by Israel Police's anti-corruption unit

Attorney David Shimron on July 11, 2017.
Moti Milrod

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attorney and confidant David Shimron, as well as another associate, were detained for questioning on Sunday as part of the ongoing Israel Police investigation into the purchase of German submarines and other watercraft, known as Case 3000.

It remains unclear what police suspect for the second associate, who is considered to be close with both Netanyahu and Shimron.

>>All the scandals involving Netanyahu, and where they stand

The submarines affair centers around two transactions between Israel and German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp for the purchase of three submarines and four missile boats to protect Israel's offshore natural gas rigs, at a cost of almost 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion). In July, Michael Ganor, the middleman in the deal between Israel and ThyssenKrupp, signed a state's evidence agreement. The court issued a gag order on his testimony. Ganor was arrested in the first round of arrests, along with Shimron and Avriel Bar-Yosef, former deputy head of the National Security Council.

In September, Rami Tayeb, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz's media adviser, and David Sharan, Netanyahu's former bureau chief, were arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes. Sharan also served in the past as Steinitz' bureau chief. Former minister and present Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal chairman Eliezer Sandberg, former Israel Navy commando chief Shai Brosh, media consultant Tzachi Lieber and public relations executive Natan Mor were arrested hours later.

The German government approved a memorandum of understanding for the sale of three submarines to Israel in October, though Germany reportedly reserved the right to stop the deal and even cancel it if the investigation that is currently under way in Israel at any point will reveal that senior officials who undertook the deal did so unlawfully.

Attorney general Avichai Mendelblit said last week that he "is under attack from all directions" using methods inconsistent with "the rules of democracy," according to a recording broadcast on Sunday morning on the Galatz radio station. In the recording, the attorney general addresses the proposed bills regarding immunity for the prime minister and limitations on police recommendations involving investigations.

Mendelblit spoke on Thursday at a conference, where he spoke of the difficulties he faces with politicians and ministers. "I cannot work the way they do. Someone compared the dynamic to asymmetrical warfare. One side is obligated to work within the laws of war, while the other is not. I feel that I'm in a similar situation."

This is a developing story