While serving as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been legally entangled and that influenced the reason he lost the election and with it the office of Israel’s prime minister. One of the legal claims against Netanyahu is the complicated Case 3000. It deals with the purchase of submarines and sophisticated defense vessels for the Navy of the State of Israel.
Through the drama lens, the political thumping, and the tabloids: the purchase of submarines and defense vessels is primarily a national strategic matter. Herein is a detailed behind-the-scenes essay on the most talked about security matter subject of the decade.
A Well-Reviewed Investigation Into Case 3000
On January 23, 2022, the Government of Israel decided to establish an inquiry commission to deal with the purchase of submarines and defense vessels. Against this background, it is important to bring to the attention of the citizens of Israel the subject matter facts including the relevant historical background, with event references that occurred at the same time and had a significant impact on any decision-making.
For the purpose of the article, we watched with great interest the ten videos published by the Movement for Quality of Government on its website in order to get acquainted with the allegations made on the subject; we also read a lot of material published by former National Security (NSC) heads, and we used data published about submarines order of forces and defense vessels and their characteristics. We must emphasize that this entire article is based on visible sources. It also passed through the examining eyes of knowledgeable people who were close or within the decision-making process in the relevant periods.
Editor’s Note: This story was published in Hebrew by Moshik Kovarsky, high-tech software engineer, member of Project 315 steering Committee and Dan Nachman, Lt. Col. (Ret.) and a businessman. Translated from Hebrew and published by Nurit Greenger with permission. | August 29, 2022
Hidden Facts Revealed
When you finish reading this article, you will be acquainted with many facts that have been concealed from you, some of which are deliberately intended by those who are interested in creating a false narrative that serves their political purposes. We will talk herein about the following:
- Israel’s submarines’ order of power over the years and their characteristics;
- The decision-making process regarding the purchase of the submarines by the state of Israel;
- The purchase of the defense vessel in the context of protection of the nation’s gas fields;
- What is the meaning of the submarines’ supply to Egypt?;
- What is 3000 case (the story of the agents) and how, if at all, is it related to Netanyahu;
Did Benjamin Netanyahu have ‘steel shares’ related to ‘ThyssenKrupp*’? (*ThyssenKrupp AG is a German multinational conglomerate with focus on industrial engineering and steel production) To what extent did the connection to the “cousins” (Egypt) influence the decisions?
The Submarine Fleet Historical Background
To understand the current events, it is important to know the development of the Israeli submarine fleet over the years. The story begins in 1960 when Israel purchased two old S-type* submarines, named “Tanin” and “Rahav” in Hebrew, from the British Royal Army’s surplus (*The British S-class submarines of 1914, based on an Italian design of the Laurenti boats, were built in Scotland just before World War I) that served as a great source of pride for the young 12-year-old country.
During the Six Day War, these submarines carried out a clandestine operation in the port of Alexandria, Egypt, which unfortunately ended in the capture of some of the divers. However, it illustrated the importance of the underwater naval force. After the Six-Day War, Israel purchased three T-type submarines*. These improved on the previous ones but were still old. (*T class or Triton class submarine, designed in the 1930s to replace the O, P, and R classes built just before and during WWII). Only two submarines arrive in Israel. The third, named ‘Dakar’, drowned in mysterious circumstances. Her sisters, ‘Livyatan’ and ‘Dolphin’ served the Israeli navy until 1974. For two years thereafter, Israel did not have a submarine fleet until three new British-German-made submarines based on the German Model 206, named ‘Gal’, ‘Tanin’, and ‘Rahav’ were put into service until the early 2000s. Since then a new generation of submarines entered the service and that brings us to the present day.
In the early 1980s, the design of another, improved submarine model, the “Dolphin,” began. Germany was chosen as the producing country due to its vast experience in this field, as well as its generous participation in the financing of the submarines. In 1999, after many delays, the first submarine of this model named ‘Dolphin’ arrived in Israel followed by its sisters ‘Leviathan’ and ‘Tekuma,’ which still serve the Israeli Navy. Normally, the maximum lifespan of a submarine is 25-30 years due to the frequent and large changes in pressures on the submarine’s body between the sea surface and the depths of the sea. Also, at any given moment, on average, at least a third of the submarine fleet is inactivated due to maintenance, malfunctions, or training use. Pay attention to these details when we speak about decisions made on the future order of forces.
In the first decade of the 2000s, two more modern submarines were ordered from the same HDW shipyard in Germany, which belongs to the giant ThyssenKrupp concern. These submarines also named ‘Tanin’ and ‘Rahav’ arrived in late 2014 and early 2016 respectively. These modern submarines differed significantly from their predecessors in that they contained the AIP (Air-independent propulsion) system that allows the submarine to operate under the sea surface without the need for outside air, thus allowing it to stay in the depths at sea for a long time.
In order to maintain Israel’s qualitative advantage, after arriving in Israel these submarines were fitted with many unique electronic systems that upgrade them beyond recognition compared to the same models supplied by the manufacturer to other countries. These capabilities are essential for first-rate strategic reasons when dealing with and deterring distant threats, as one should understand. Upon their arrival, Israel’s submarine’s total fleet stood at five: three of the old model and two new ones. It is important to emphasize again that the two new ones can do much more than the three old ones.
How, When, and Why It Was Decided to Purchase More Submarines
We will start in 2009, the year in which Benjamin Netanyahu returns to be the Prime Minister. At this point, Israel has three ten-year-old submarines at its disposal: Dolphin, Leviathan, and Tekumah. As mentioned, the enormous atmospheric pressures prevailing at depth means submarines normally last for 25 years. Extending the life of this type of vessel by five more years requires complex, lengthy and expensive care. That is, it is already clear that the first submarine, manufactured in 1997, is set to leave service in 2022, or at most 2027.
In addition, when Netanyahu took office, two more submarines were already on order, Tanin and Rahav, since July 2006. It was not easy because Germany’s Chancellor Schroeder delayed the approval of the deal until the last minute of his tenure. The vessels finally arrived in December 2014 and January 2016 respectively. This too must be remembered – from the moment of ordering, the time to produce the submarine and its entering operational service is between eight and ten years.
A Black Swan Arrives
However, in parallel with the IDF’s orderly equipment plans, three black swans appeared in Israel’s waters that shuffled the card deck for better or worse. The first one, which we were all happy about, was the huge gas discoveries off the coast of Israel. The first discovery was the Tamar field, in January 2009 (BCM 280), and it began producing gas in March 2013. About two years later, in December 2011, Israel woke up to the discovery of the Levyathan (whale) gas field, which was almost 3 times larger than the Tamar field. The relatively smaller Karish and Tanin fields were also discovered a year and two years later. Levyathan has been producing gas since the beginning of 2020; Karish (shark) and Tanin (crocodile) will start soon.
These discoveries led to a drastic change in the size of the area – economic water – that requires maritime protection compared to what Israel knew earlier as its territorial waters. This is an area 10 times (!) larger than the previous one, an area that exceeds Israel’s land’s size.
A Second Black Swan
We’ll move on to the second black swan. In March 2011, the Iron Dome system was declared operational. Up to that point, nobody knew whether there was a real possibility of intercepting Grad missiles and the like in the medium and short range. A year and a half later, in November 2012, the system proved its effectiveness in Operation Pillar of Defense and it intercepted 428 enemy missiles. The Iron Dome (and similar systems) has an impact on the issue of vessels for the protection of the gas fields that we will talk about later.
A Third Black Swan
The third black swan was the tremendous geopolitical changes the Middle East underwent. On the one hand, the Arab Spring, which entailed the rise of extremist Islamist regimes (as experienced during the transition period with Morsi in Egypt), and on the other, the threat from the regime in Iran, following the 2009 green coup (that was suppressed) that realized its insurance certificate is long-range missiles and nuclear weapons for which Israel requires to have a significant deterrent power.
If not yet understood, all the cards were dealt. Decisions taken in the early 2000s became irrelevant in the blink of an eye, and a completely new rethinking was required. The first requirement was to set the submarine fleet at six. An option for a sixth submarine, at a discounted price, was granted back in 2006 and was soon about to expire. Then serving as Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel caused problems in supplying it because of disagreements she had with PM Netanyahu over the Judea and Samaria “settlements.”
After orderly staff work, led by the head of the National Security Council, Yaakov Amidror, at the request of the then-Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, and also many political efforts, on March 21, 2012, an agreement was signed in Berlin, Germany, to purchase the sixth submarine. Barak said at the ceremony: “The sixth submarine will be another multiplier force for the IDF and Israel’s capabilities in the face of increasing challenges … In recent years, the Navy has been going through an upgrade process as the long arm of the IDF.” Just so we understand, to this day this submarine has not yet arrived in Israel (remember, it takes at least ten years to deliver?). It is expected to arrive in Israel in the next year or two and its name in Israel will be Dragon (Drakon Hebrew pronunciation).
Another important note: there is no room whatsoever to compare the first 3 submarines that arrived around the year 2000, and the Tanin, Rahave, and Drakon. The latter contains the AIP system that produces underwater air and thus allows the submarine a very long stay time in the depths of the sea, which is extremely important for the purpose of its covert missions.
But that did not end the problems at hand. As you may recall, the three dolphin submarines are expected to expire in the current decade, even if their lifespan is artificially extended. It is important to understand: Six submarines are committed for several reasons. First, at any point in time, on average, two of them are in the shipyard for maintenance or training. In addition, due to the geopolitical changes as well as the discovery of gas, Israel is required to operate in three arenas simultaneously: the northern arena, the southern, and the depth arenas. Based on this data, according to professional work, it was decided in the cabinet that Israel must make sure it has a fleet of 6 submarines on a regular basis.
False claims were made as if there was an intention to increase the fleet to nine submarines. Against this background, it is important to hear Yaakov Nagel, who was the head of the National Security Council in 2016-2017 when the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on 3 submarines, which will replace the three existing submarines that will go out of service due to their obsolescence, and this is what Nagel said in an interview on April 18, 2019: “Ahead of the trip to Merkel, Germany, the head of a division in the Ministry of Defense has prepared a paper showing the pace required to replace the old submarines with new ones in the years 2027-2031.”
This clause does not invoke any comments or objections. All the talk about Israel having 9 submarines never happened and never existed.
As a result, in October 2017 a memorandum of understanding was signed – which can be revoked – for the purchase of three additional Dolphin AIP submarines in place of the first three. At the same time, various allegations began to be made, most of them completely refuted since then, about “high-level corruption” and the involvement of Esq. David Shimron, the prime minister’s once-removed cousin. The investigations and petitions significantly delayed the implementation of the contract while they played into the hands of those in Germany who opposed the supply of submarines to Israel, and many others. The hard result of all those unnecessary delays was that the order was only signed and put in place very recently at a much higher price than we could have had if Israel acted quickly. Worse, the delay and the increase in price could mean that the total number of submarines could be, in future, reduced from six to only three, and if the old submarines go out of service before the three newly ordered submarines arrive this poses a risk to Israel’s security.
What Was the Process That Led to the Purchase of the Defense Vessels?
In this part, we will focus on the defense (magen) vessels, the first (named Magen) arrived about a year ago. In order to understand the chain of events, we will go back to 2008, when the IDF’s multi-year Tefen plan was presented. In this plan, following the Second Lebanon War and the great needs of the land forces, almost nothing was allocated for equipping the Navy. But a year later, as explained in the previous chapter, with the discovery of the gas fields off the coast of Israel the cards had to be dealt differently. In January 2009, the Tamar field was discovered; in December 2011, the Livyatan field, three times larger than Tamar was discovered. As mentioned, the Navy was now required to protect an area 10 times larger than the previous area, and for this purpose, larger, more equipped, and with longer ranges of action – in time and space – vessels were required.
Gas rigs and drilling devices are ideal targets for missiles of all types, from the air, sea, and land. At the same time, the Iron Dome system demonstrated its capabilities of intercepting steep-track missiles, and the defense industries developed systems against flat-track cruise missiles.
But the installation of identification, detection, and interception systems for these threats on a ship swaying in the middle of the sea has presented new requirements, including increasing the pressure (the weight of water volume that a ship pushes when fully loaded and its fuel tanks are full) of the ships. The Navy, up to this point, was equipped with Sa’ar 5 ships with propulsion of 1200 tons, insufficient range, and limited ability to contain the systems that would deal with missile threats (e.g. too small helicopter and radar for too short ranges).
Even during the time Eliezer (Cheney) Marom was the commander of the navy (ended in October 2011), the demand for ships of 2,000 tons propulsion increased. This demand went through several stages but in April 2013 the then commander of the navy, Major General Ram Rothberg, probably after operational discussions within the navy, recommended the purchase of large ships from Germany. In November 2013, the government issued a decision authorizing the Navy to protect gas facilities.
Some argue that in the end Livyatan oil rig is located just 10 km from the shore and therefore “there is no need” to protect the drilling point. But at the time when the decision was made to purchase the ships, the issue of the gas was very controversial. Besides the general opposition to the issue, the environmentalists demanded, including petitions to the High Court, to place the rig near the drilling point, a distance of 150 km and more from the shore. It was not at all clear that the High Court, in response to these petitions, would not oblige the government to keep the rig away as requested in the petitions and thus make it difficult to defend it. In addition, no foreign company will come to search for gas and drill in Israel’s economic waters without a promise of full protection of the drilling facilities by the Navy. That is because a huge distance of 200 km from the shore requires defense.
Obama Administration Interference
But then a problem arose: the Germans, who had originally pledged a significant discount for the purchase, withdrew from it, apparently as a result of pressure from the Obama administration, due to political reasons (pressure on Israel on the “Palestinian issue”) and commercialism (giving priority to American companies), and in May 2014 the deal stalled.
Netanyahu acted by political means to obtain a discount from Chancellor Merkel, by the way, with the demonstrable support of Yair Lapid, the then Minister of Finance, and Avigdor Lieberman, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs. But in the meantime, in July 2014 the Ministry of Defense was in a hurry to accelerate the tender for ships of up to 1800 tons. When the German written commitment to a discount arrived, in October 2014 a letter published in recent weeks was sent from the Navy Commander, Ram Rothberg to Defense Minister Ya’alon, stating: “The conduct of the Ministry of Defense may harm the operational future of the Navy and its capabilities to fulfill its responsibility in protecting the economic water space of the state.”
Following Rothberg’s letter, Defense Minister Ya’alon agreed to stop the tender. In December 2014 a memorandum of understanding was signed for the purchase of the ships and in May 2015, four ships at a total cost of 430 million euros were ordered from which 115 million euros were the participation of the German government in this total cost. It should be emphasized that this cost is immeasurably lower than the first estimates of the purchase of the ships from the United States or other sources. In the last two years, 4 ‘Sa’ar 6’ ships – Magen, Oz, Atzmaut, and Nitzachon – have been handed over to the Navy which contribute to the security of the citizens of Israel and are protecting the gas rigs.
The differences in capabilities between the old ‘Sa’ar 5’ ships and the new ‘Sa’ar 6’-ships are enormous. Here are some of them (from visible sources only): Range – 60% higher. Armament: In ‘Sa’ar 6’ the possibility of a “mighty” multi-layered radar, 32 Barak missiles, 8 against cruise missiles, 40 Iron Dome missiles (the systems are built in the ship), and a much larger and more sophisticated helicopter. According to an article in the Navy magazine, the radar ‘Adir’ is a renewed and improved version of the existing radar in ‘Sa’ar 5’, with advanced capabilities for detecting targets at much longer ranges. It is also important to note that the ship’s thrust, which is twice as large, allows for much more massive firing, as well as the installation of the “Adir” on the ship’s mast, things that are not possible on smaller ships due to stability problems of a ship subject to fluctuations in the sea and the fear of overturning.
Attempts over the years to equate the acquisition of ships with the image of a corrupt and improper process are unjustified. There were even unfair claims that the gas companies would defend themselves (should residents near the Gaza Strip also be required to purchase their own Iron Dome?). It is also important to understand that some of the allegations stem from the struggle for budgets and influence within the security system between the various arms. The recently published letter of Major General Rothberg illustrates once again the absurdity of these claims.
The Truth Behind Egypt’s Purchase of the Submarines
Many allegations are made about the supply of German submarines to Egypt, the approval that Netanyahu gave or did not give to the Germans, and the unreasonable threat to Israel’s security as a result. Some of the allegations even suggested that Netanyahu’s actions were approaching treason.
First, we get to know the Egyptian navy, the largest navy in the Middle East. Egypt has a coastline of about 2000 km, compared to about 200 km of Israel’s coastline (including the Red Sea). Egypt has always had submarines, and even today its fleet has 4 Chinese “Romeo” attack submarines that have been modernized in the US where they have been given the ability to carry Harpoon missiles against spaceships. The US did not ask Israel for approval for the above upgrade …
Here is another fact that most of the public does not know: As early as 2011, Egypt ordered two 209 type submarines from Germany, without Israel being informed at all. These submarines have a body that is ostensibly similar to the first three Dolphin submarines of the Israeli Navy, the ones that arrived in Israel in the early 2000s. But it is important to understand: the sophisticated and unique weapons and management systems developed and installed in the Israeli submarines do not exist in the Egyptian submarines and this guaranteed in various ways that we will not expand on here.
Of course, these submarines, which do not include the AIP component (Allowing a very long stay underwater), are very inferior compared to the 212 submarines that Israel purchased later (two of them are already in Israel. One [Dracon] will arrive soon, and the other three were recently ordered, too late, in order to replace the first three that will leave service). This is also the reason why the Egyptians received their two submarines within 5-6 years, with the first delivered in 2016 and the second one in 2017.
Simultaneously with the Egyptian acquisition, dramatic political events took place in the Middle East in general and in Egypt in particular. In early 2011, the ‘Arab Spring’ broke out, and Mubarak’s regime fell in February of that year. In the first year he was replaced by General Tantawi who enjoyed the support of the army. But a year later, in June 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood took power under Muhammad Morsi’s leadership.
All the red lights were turned on in Israel, and Israel appealed to the German government to halt supplies to the extremist and hostile Islamist regime. Germany, which is not required to obtain approval from Israel, itself understood the situation that had arisen and agreed to delay delivery even though the order had already been approved and the submarines were in production.
Fortunately, Morsi’s regime also posed a risk to the Egyptian army’s dominance and its control of the country, thus bringing about an end to itself. In July 2013, Morsi was ousted by the army, which temporarily appointed Adli Mansour president, who was the president of the Constitutional Court, (until he was replaced in June 2014 by ‘Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi, who serves as Egypt’s president to this day). From the moment Morsi was ousted, the conditions have changed and Israel’s resistance became irrelevant to the Germans.
In 2015, the Egyptians asked to order two more submarines, identical to the two they ordered in 2011 which were in the final stages of production. We will emphasize again that the capabilities of these submarines are inferior to the Israeli submarines. It is important to understand that the way was open for Egypt to order much more sophisticated submarines from countries such as Korea, France and China. In November 2019, for example, Military Africa magazine reported that Egypt was examining the purchase of advanced S26T type submarines (1900 ton) from China, Submarines with AIP capability. For Israel it was worth it for the Egyptians to buy the inferior submarines in Germany and he who understands will understand.
While these events were taking place, intensive contacts were being conducted (2014) with the Germans over the deal for the defensive vessels to Israel, in which the Germans eventually agreed to finance 27.5% of the cost (115 million euro discount and NIS 700 million reciprocal purchase). In addition, the need for three submarines to replace the three old ones is already on the horizon, and Israel is also asking the Germans for a much larger discount.
In March 2015, three months after the Memorandum of Understanding was signed for the surface combatant ships, and when the more pro-Israel al-Sisi regime was established in Egypt, the Germans decided there was no impediment to sell submarines to Egypt and approved the Egyptian order for two more similar submarines, similar to the two that were about to be supplied.
Netanyahu knew that the Israeli resistance was meaningless and that the Germans did not take it into account. At the same time, various things were published about the reward that Netanyahu managed to receive from Merkel (the same secret that Yaakov Nagel confirms here that does exist and is known to him). From reliable sources we know that contrary to what was published, all senior members of the defense establishment knew about the German position and the Egyptian order, shortly after the German decision was made. We will note in parentheses that German submarines are also supplied to Turkey, which in the geopolitical reality poses an equally threatening menace to Israel.
Half a year later, Netanyahu traveled to meet with Merkel and it was agreed that one more MoU would be signed regarding the purchase of the three submarines for Israel. The head of the National Security Council, Yaakov Nagel, says that he prepared the memorandum draft in February 2016, with the full backing of the Cabinet. Due to a mistake in Staff work, anti-submarine ships, offered by Germany, were included in the memorandum, which in any case does not oblige Israel to purchase. When the Navy and the Ministry of Defense said these anti-submarine ships were not necessary, these ships were immediately omitted from the memorandum. The stories and imaginations developed around the subject may be appropriate for a Hollywood series but have no grip on reality.
Were There Any Personal Considerations in the Process? The Shares and Commissions
Having in the previous four chapters focused on facts and figures related to the purchase of submarines and surface ships, it is inevitable to also address the issue of stocks and commissions. The “Movement for the Quality of Government,” in a pompous video series as well as in media interviews, talk about the “steel engine” and the “commission engine” as the main factors in the decision-making. Here we will refute this legend with facts and figures.
The issue of steel stocks can be divided into three main questions:
Was there a connection between the shares held by Netanyahu and the purchase of the submarines and the vessels?
Did holding the shares yield him a non-kosher profit?
And did his cousin, Nathan Milikowski, really profit from the purchase of the submarines?
First a factual background. In August 2007, as an ordinary MK, Netanyahu purchased $600,000 1.7% in the NMSD partnership, owned by his uncle Nathan Milikowski. This partnership had a 61% holding in a company called Seadrift (which we will talk about immediately), and a debt of $30M, taken as a loan to improve it. A simple financial account shows that Seadrift’s value at that point was $107M. Seadrift was purchased by NMSD and others two years earlier, at a much cheaper price, and Milikowski improved it better with the help of the loan he took. The company has produced a unique material that is used for electrodes that produce steel. At that time, steel prices soared due to increased demand in China (Beijing Olympics, remember?) And the price of Seadrift soared.
In July 2008, Graftech, an American company that manufactures the aforementioned electrodes, and to which Seadrift was the supplier, purchased 18.9% of Seadrift’s shares (from the Falcon Fund that owned them from the beginning and therefore earned a lot) for $135M. Which gave Seadrift a value of $ 714M. But Netanyahu and his associates did not sell their shares at the time and thus lost, because later came the great financial crisis at the end of 2008 and the partial recovery that followed. In November 2010, Graftech decided to buy the rest of the shares in Seadrift so that it would be its full owner, this due to the importance of supplying the unique material for the manufacture of the electrodes. In this transaction, Graftech paid $264M to NMSD for the same 61% it held in Seadrift, of which Netanyahu received 1.7% that he had originally invested in NMSD, which was now worth $4.5M.
Regarding the first question, the answer is simple: Netanyahu held the shares between August 2007 and November 2010. As explained in previous chapters in this article, no contractual activity was done with ThyssenKrupp during this period. Submarines 4 and 5 were ordered in 2006. Submarine 6 was ordered in 2012. The vessel in 2015. That is, there is no connection at all to holding shares and purchasing the submarines and vessels. In addition, Netanyahu has never held shares in ThyssenKrupp (which mainly produces steel and also submarines and vessels) or in its direct supplier.
But was the deal kosher and made lawful? First, it is clear today, and can also be conclusively proven, that Netanyahu legally reported holding the shares, and received permission to continue holding them even after he was appointed as prime minister (since these are not ordinary shares but a transparent partnership participation certificate – LLC), and of course, legally reported the sale and paid on it capital gain tax according to the law.
Second, the numbers we provided and other data show that Netanyahu bought the shares at their fair value (a deal was made at a similar price two months before) and also sold the shares at fair value. The huge increase in value came from three factors: the increase in global demand for steel, the importance of Seadrift for Graftech as the manufacturer of the unique material used for electrodes, and the leverage resulting from the large loan taken by NMSD that was used to purchase and improve Seadrift.
It is also alleged that after the deal, Milikowski remained the owner of 11% of Graftech which was a supplier of electrodes to ThyssenKrupp so, that he benefited from a submarine purchase. It is important to understand: ThyssenKrupp sells $34 billion a year and produces about 10 million tons of steel (these are orders of magnitude – the numbers vary from year to year). In a single submarine there are only about 2,000 tons of steel worth no more than $4 million. Each ton of steel requires 3 kg of electrodes; its value in the relevant period was no more than $20. In other words, Graftech earns from each submarine $40,000 and Milikovsky a few thousand dollars. This is a negligible sum relative to his holdings and income, and here too we have probably overestimated. In any case, Milikowski broke away from Graftech in 2015, long before the memorandum of understanding on the three additional submarines, so the whole discussion is redundant.
And now to the subject of Agent Mickey Ganor, the commissions, and the charge of bribery. First, we emphasize: after a comprehensive investigation and seven sections of hell, the prime minister’s cousin, Adv. David Shimron, is not charged in any way. On average, less than NIS 15,000 per month for five years – 2011-2016). He was never rewarded for any purchase, but received a two-hour consulting fee from Ganor, as is customary. (According to his affidavit to the High Court, on average, less than NIS 15,000 per month for five years – 2011-2016). As for Ganor himself, the Ministry of Defense’s security procurement has always been based on contact with agents and this forms the basis for passionate struggles between the various agents. Ganor did not invent the method. If bribes were indeed given at the lower levels – this will be clarified in court. However, there is no connection to Prime Minister Netanyahu in this whole affair. There are also allegations that Ganor and Shimron’s intensive investigation was deliberately done “to aim at Netanyahu’s head,” but this did not work out because there was no factual basis for it. Did Ganor push to make purchase deals with ThyssenKrupp? For sure. That is the role of an agent. Is this why the decisions were made as they were made? There is no trace of this and any such claim is fundamentally flawed.
Ever since the subject of submarines and vessels burst into our lives we have been flooded with a plethora of disinformation and preoccupation with the margins instead of the essentials. Numbers were distorted, data was distorted, facts were omitted, and standard events were inflated. The toxic combination of imaginary sums of money, the passionate inclination of people who felt excluded from the circle of decisions, and of course political considerations to slam the opponents, all of these led to the neutering of factual and helpful public discourse.
The most important point to remember is that beyond the personal issue, the purchase of submarines and vessels is primarily a national strategic issue subject to frequent changes in the geopolitical, positive, and negative arena. Any decision made before 2009, before the gas was discovered and before the Arab Spring, became irrelevant afterward. An attempt to argue that previously there was orderly decision-making while now there is a mix of personal considerations simply ignores the substantial changes that have taken place in the arena and the rapid decisions that were required in changing conditions and uncertainty.
Another significant point is the pulling of the rope between the defense establishment and the National Security headquarters. The National Security Council was established, as will be recalled, in 1999, as a late lesson from the Agranat Committee’s conclusions on the Yom Kippur War. The role of the National Security Council is to weigh all the regional and global threats, militarily, politically, and economically, and to advise the government and the one who is its head on alternatives and priorities.
As a result, disagreements often arise between the head and the defense establishment over the emphasis. While the National Security Council implements clean and comprehensive thinking regarding the total global threats and implications for economic and policy issues, the defense establishment has heavy budgetary constraints related to manpower, the balance between the various arms, local equipment versus overseas procurements, and more. All of these create uneasy tensions that sometimes slide into irrelevant discussions.
In the article, we tried to concentrate on facts and events and to deal less with the personal and the tabloids. Naturally, any issue can be taken and turned into a personal whim or even, God forbid, corruption. We do not claim that corruption does not exist, but in our opinion, it is on the margins and not the one that led to the decisions being made as they were made.
At the end of the day, the Israeli navy is equipped at the beginning of the third decade of the twenty-first century with the best equipment and thus is ready for the challenges that the changing reality presents to it. We owe this gratitude and appreciation to the decision makers who navigated the stormy waters and brought about this result. We must, however, regret the corruption of the public debate and the exploitation of the case for an unbridled political slam.
The many disputes that have been nurtured, the enormous financial damage caused, and the many security risks taken, are all the result of an orchestrated and deliberate campaign in which many red lines were crossed, and contrary to the well-known saying, the lying in this case also grew many legs. (“A lie does not have legs … “)
History will judge the actors in this Case 3000 drama, for good or bad, and this article will be a milestone and in time will be examined by future generations.