Cairo - Egypt on Friday formally received a third submarine of the four it has been promised, as part of a deal with Germany that has caused considerable controversy in Israel. A ceremony held at the shipyards of shipbuilding company Thyssenkrupp in the city of Kiel was attended by the commander of the Egyptian Navy, Ahmed Khaled. Egypt received the first two submarines from the deal in 2016 and 2017. The fourth is expected to be delivered in 2021.
Egypt’s purchase of the submarines, and specifically Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval of the deal, have raised many questions in Israel, with numerous former high-ranking Israeli officials saying they were not consulted nor updated on the matter. These have included the former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, and former chief of the Mossad spy agency Tamir Pardo. According to a Channel 13 report, Amos Gilad, former director of the Defense Ministry’s Political-Military Affairs Bureau, traveled to Germany in 2015 to lobby against the sale, only to find out from Merkel’s staff that Netanyahu had personally approved it without telling anyone. According to reports, defense officials and others raised concerns about the sale of the advanced weaponry by German firm Thyssenkrupp to Israel’s neighbor and former foe. Germany does not require Israeli approval for such a sale, but had evidently been open to hearing Israeli concerns.
The US and some other allies will only sell advanced arms to Middle Eastern countries that are either a generation removed from the weapons sold Israel, or will run the sale by Jerusalem first, as a way of protecting the Jewish state in any future conflict.