Opinion

It's Good That Netanyahu Tried to Purchase Submarines for Israel

For Israel, having a few serviceable subs with second-strike capability is a strategic decision of unparalleled importance.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the government's memorial event on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, for the late PM Yitzhak Rabin, Nov. 13, 2016.
Olivier Fitoussi

When the media set off the anti-Bibi bomb called “the submarines affair,” it was overjoyed. Finally, this time we caught Benjamin Netanyahu red-handed. And the handwriting on the wall, although not openly stated, was that the prime minister had purchased three submarines from the Germans at a cost of 6 billion shekels ($1.5 billion) contrary to the opinion of the security establishment – just so his friend, attorney David Shimron, could make money from brokering the deal.

If that’s true, then this is a case not only of a prime minister who is stupid, terrible, a swindler or a psychopath – but of the devil incarnate. The leader of such a small country as Israel, ostensibly facing ongoing danger to its very survival and security, who just like that, without any real security-related need, purchases three submarines at such an astronomical cost, at the expense of the defense budget, just to make his friend rich – this person cannot just be corrupt or crazy: He is a devil of a prime minister.

The worst thing about the whole media brouhaha stirred by the anti-Bibis, is that they know, or should know – because the reports were published quite openly for the most part in foreign media outlets – that the submarines we’re buying from Germany are the most important component today of Israel’s security and survival.

These subs are more essential to Israel’s security than the most sophisticated missiles, advanced aircraft and latest tanks. These submarines – every citizen should understand – give Israel the “second-strike capability” necessary for defending itself. That is (and all this is based on foreign reports), if some enemy country decides to drop atom bombs on us – and there are those who have declared their intention to do so – the main thing, if not the only thing, that can prevent them from doing such a terrible thing is “second-strike capability.” These subs give Israel this capability.

And so, for this country to have at any given time a few serviceable subs with this capability is a strategic decision of unparalleled importance. One doesn’t have to be a fan of Netanyahu to understand that he did well to decide to purchase those three subs, even if there were ministers or senior officials or officers who opposed it.

It could very well be that in sewing up this deal, as is almost always the case with enormously costly transactions of this kind, there were certain acts of corruption or illicit payment. These are, of course, criminal matters that must be harshly dealt with.

But this must be plainly stated: Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to buy the three subs not to enrich his friend, but out of clear, reasonable and proper security considerations. Naturally, these considerations may be disputed, but Benjamin Netanyahu is at the moment prime minister of Israel and he, not Channel 10 investigative journalist Raviv Drucker, should and must make this decision. That is what he did, and it's good that he did so.

Netanyahu is not the devil leading Israel to hell, from whom we will be redeemed and saved if we are rid of him. That’s not the right story and not the true picture. It’s true that Netanyahu – like prime ministers of all political parties since 1967 – is leading the country to disaster. But he, too, like all of his predecessors, is being led into the abyss and to hell embraced and shackled by the settlement monster that has risen up to destroy us, and whose head – not the premier's – must be smashed in order for us to be rescued.