Israel Premier Netanyahu Defends German Submarine Deal
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued Nov 18, 2016)
Israel's premier has defended purchasing six German submarines the military says are too expensive and not needed. There have been allegations of financial links between Netanyahu's attorney and the German shipbuilder.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is in Germany on the anniversary of German-Israeli relations. In the port of Kiel, four warships will soon be built for Israel - and an Arab company will make money on the deal. (12.05.2015)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his decision to push for a submarine deal with Germany amid mounting pressure from opposition lawmakers, who say the deal is tainted by conflicts of interest. "Strengthening the security of the state of Israel was my only consideration in purchasing these submarines," Netanyahu said Sunday at the beginning of the Knesset meeting in Jerusalem.

In Israel, there have been calls for an inquiry after it was revealed the prime minister's personal attorney, David Shimron, had represented German firm Thyssen Krupp which built the six Dolphin-class submarines.

"This is the prime minister's attorney, who is also a private attorney, and the Netanyahu family lawyer, and also a lawyer who serves as the prime minister's official representative. He has a finger in every pot. And it was Netanyahu, of all people, who did not know that Shimron was involved with the submarines?" asked Yediot Ahronot columnist Ben-Dror Yemini.

Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has also sought to distance himself from the deal saying he was not privy to the negotiations over the 1.4 billion euro ($1.5 billion) deal. "I was strongly against the purchase of three additional submarines," Yaalon wrote on his official Facebook page last week. The defense minister urged an investigation into the "very disturbing" allegations.

The Israeli military currently has five German submarines, the purchase of which has been partly financed by a 30-percent discount; the fleet is expected to grow to six in 2018. A framework agreement to buy three new submarines was approved by the Israeli government on October 26.

In Germany, there have been questions about the submarines' capability to launch nuclear missiles. Israel is alleged to possess an undeclared arsenal of nuclear weapons.


In Israel, Furor Over Super Fast-Tracked Submarine Deal with Germany (excerpt)
(Source: Defense News; posted Nov 18, 2016)
By Barbara Opall-Rome
TEL AVIV --- It took more than seven years for Israel to reach its 2010 agreement with Washington on its first squadron of F-35s, the debut pair of which is scheduled to arrive here next month.

The process involved intensive staff work within the Israel Air Force (IAF) under three commanders; continuous coordination with American government and industry representatives; and the support of three Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chiefs and the same number of successive defense ministers and prime ministers.

But according to explosive headlines here over the past few days, it took less than a year to conclude an Israeli-German agreement for three new submarines; just six months if one counts back to the removal in May of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who opposed the deal.

While a former Ministry of Defense (MoD) director-general last February conditionally endorsed the need to start procuring submarines in the out years well beyond the recently approved five-year plan, the deal was essentially negotiated by one office and spearheaded by one man: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli Cabinet unanimously approved the German deal on Oct. 26.

Even now, details of the estimated €1.2 billion (US $1.3 billion) deal with the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel remain a mystery to the Israeli Navy and the IDF General Staff.

“The Navy is in initial study phases for a next-generation submarine,” a general officer here told Defense News on Thursday.

“It’s going to take years of work since we’re talking about an entirely different submarine from the Dolphin or the Dolphin AIP,” he said, referring to the first three Israeli-designed Dolphins and the follow-on, three air-independent propulsion submarines contracted with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Defense News website.


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