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Israel’s Gantz Okays Panel to Investigate Sub Scandal

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who is alternate prime minister in an uneasy alliance with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has established a panel to look into allegations of kickbacks that could end up involving Netanyahu himself. The alleged kickbacks concern the purchase of submarines from the German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp, whose Israeli representative is accused of having nailed down the order with the help of Netanyahu’s cousin and personal attorney, who is said to have invoked the prime minister’s name in pressuring the Defense Ministry. The affair is known as Case 3000, one of four to have dogged Netanyahu over the past couple years. He is currently on trial for the other three on charges ranging from fraud to bribery. Gantz, a former military chief of staff and political novice who leads the centrist Blue and White party, agreed to join a government with Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic, but only on condition that he take over as prime minister a year from now. Observers say Netanyahu has no intention of handing over the reins and that this is Gantz’s way to pressure him to step aside.