"Aiding the armament of Israel using the German [weapons] industry has been a frequently discussed issue over the past 20 years", said Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, "Germany stands behind its historical commitment to Israel, and [remains committed] in order to ensure Israel's existence'".
German weekly Der Spiegel reported that Germany would subsidize a third of the €1.5-billion ($1.7 billion) deal, which would boost the size of Israel's nuclear-capable submarine fleet. They could, however, be used to attack that country in the case of a nuclear war, experts say.
The recent agreement between Germany and Israel came despite an ongoing investigation in Israel of corruption claims surrounding the huge military deal. The investigation centers on a possible conflict of interest, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal lawyer also representing ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems' agent in Israel.
Netanyahu was a strong supporter of the submarine deal. The submarines are scheduled to arrive in a decade. Sources involved in the deal said that the attorney-general and officials in the National Security Council and Defense Ministry were involved in a process with the German government that led to a decision to go ahead with the sale.
The Dolphin-class submarines are built especially for the Israeli Navy, and can carry a combined total of up to 16 torpedoes and submarine-launched cruise missiles.
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