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Netanyahu plunged to new depths in submarine scandal vote – analysis


WILL NETANYAHU continue to keep his ministers in the shadows? (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
WILL NETANYAHU continue to keep his ministers in the shadows?
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

What matters is that because Zohar did not have the coalition ready in time for the key vote and lost, suddenly Israelis are talking about submarines again.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuwants the “Submarine Affair” submerged well below the surface of the public’s consciousness.
For the most part, he has been successful at preventing the scandal from drowning him. His advisers were investigated and indicted. And Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has resisted pressure to acknowledge any wrongdoing by Netanyahu in the affair.
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and other top figures in the opposition have been trying unsuccessfully for years to put what is known as Case 3000 back on the public agenda.
But that all changed in one fleeting moment in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.

It does not matter whether the 25 to 23 vote in favor of a parliamentary probe of Netanyahu was legal or not. It is irrelevant whether coalition chairman Miki Zohar called for a roll-call vote before or after regular voting had already begun.
The vote itself was also insignificant, because it would have changed nothing. Forming a parliamentary commission of inquiry would have required three more votes in the Knesset plenum and three votes in the Knesset House Committee.
What matters is that because Zohar did not have the coalition ready in time for the key vote and lost, suddenly Israelis are talking about submarines again. They are remembering what Netanyahu was accused of in Case 3000, and it looks very bad for the prime minister.
Just like in the vote itself, Netanyahu apparently did not break the law. But Israel purchased very expensive – and apparently unnecessary – submarines from a company connected to his cousin and close adviser, who made a large sum of money on the deal.
Disallowing the vote after it took place looked very undemocratic, even if it was legally unproblematic. It will undoubtedly refuel political demonstrations against Netanyahu, which are permitted again after the end of the lockdown.
And it made Netanyahu politically vulnerable at the height of a dispute with his coalition partner, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. Perhaps he will now have to give in to Gantz’s demands and allow the government to function better.
Blue and White MKs were already boycotting the vote anyway. They ended up being joined by the entire opposition in the roll-call vote that passed unanimously.
On the one hand, Gantz looked bad, because Meretz faction head Tamar Zandberg scored points that he should have. But, on the other hand, the parliamentary probe of Netanyahu remains available in Gantz’s arsenal whenever he will want to threaten the prime minister.
He will be able to use this powerful weapon – when it is convenient for him – to plunge the prime minister to new depths.



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