A new report says that Israel asked Germany to extend the length of the submarines it planned on purchasing, spooking the Germans, who surmised that Israel wanted the submarines retrofitted to be compatible with nuclear missiles.
The report, which was the result of an investigation between Ronan Bergman from Yediot Aharonot and the German Die Zeit newspaper, said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed the request and even demanded the opinion of the German intelligence services, which eventually approved the request. Israel was not aware of the behind the scenes drama.
Bergman wrote that the change to make the submarines nuclear compatible can explain why Israel’s security establishment suddenly supported the expensive submarine acquisition after years of opposing it.
Israel’s purchase of the Dolphin submarines have become a controversial issue, as police are looking into a potential conflict of interest charges. The investigation into what is known as Case 3000 began in November after allegations that David Shimron, the personal attorney and second cousin of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, convinced Netanyahu to purchase the subs from ThyssenKrupp rather than through an international tender.
Police suspect a series of crimes was committed surrounding the purchase of three submarines from the German company ThyssenKrupp, including bribery, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.
Netanyahu currently is not a suspect in Case 3000, police have asserted. However, police have arrested some of the top figures in Israel’s political and security establishment, such as former Navy Chief Major General Eliezer Marom, former Israeli navy commando head Shai Brosh, and top associates to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud).
The submarine deal, which would take about 10 years to fulfill, is meant to replace three older submarines in the Israeli Navy’s fleet.