In a move that appears to be aimed at forcing new elections, Benny Gantz, Israel’s Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister has decided to form a committee to probe what pundits dub the “Submarine Affair” and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s role in it.
The “Submarine Affair” also called “Case 3000” was one of the cases that was not deemed as having enough evidence against the Prime Minister as to bring charges. However, this has not stopped Netanyahu’s enemies from threatening to open up a deep investigation into the Prime Minister’s role in it.
Essentially, state prosecutors allege that senior Israeli officials were bribed to advocate for the purchase of submarines and military boats from Thyssenkrupp, a German conglomerate. Case 3000 involves the sale of Dolphin-class submarines and anti-submarine warships by Germany to Egypt. The sale was allegedly approved by Netanyahu without informing the Defense Ministry.
Likud officials, including the Prime Minister have deemed any action by Gantz to investigate the Prime Minister in this affair as a third rail and would essentially break apart the coalition, bringing the country to new elections again.
While it seems that Israel’s untenable government appears to be breaking apart, the march to new elections for both Netanyahu and Gantz is a precarious move. Netanyahu’s Likud has been losing ground to chief Rightwing rival and former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett to the point where they are nearly even. While many do not believe Bennett will over take Netanyahu this election, if the numbers hold he will be in position to request the Defense Ministry and a rotation agreement. Most assume that unlike Gantz, Bennett would be able to hold his own against the Prime Minister.
Benny Gantz himself would be hit hard if there were new elections. He would see his Knesset seats halved and essentially losing any leverage he has.
So will there be new elections? Most likely. But Netanyahu and Gantz both know this may be their last political hurrah as a new crop of leadership contenders are now on the horizon. However, the enmity between is obviously too much to handle. Expect new elections in the early spring.
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