Israel and Germany signed a contract purchasing the Israeli Navy’s sixth submarine Wednesday. It is an SSK Dolphin Class submarine.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Defense Ministry CEO Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Shani and secretary of state of the German Federal Defense Ministry, Wolf Rudiger attended the signing ceremony for the purchase.
Last year the newspaper The Welt am Sonntag reported that German chancellor Angela Merkel conditioned the sale of the sixth Dolphin on Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. The sale of the submarine, from a German high-tech dockyard to the Israeli Navy had been held up for a year, until the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu released $100 million in blocked funds which it passed over to the Palestinian Authority in April, 2011.
Navy Commander, Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg addressed the purchase of the new submarine while speaking at the naval officers’ graduation ceremony: “Strategically, especially today, I am pleased with the approval and signing of a contract purchasing the Navy’s sixth submarine, 54 years after submarines were first put into use in the Israeli Navy. The strength of IDF and the State of Israel, and its operational flexibility, will grow ten fold,” said Maj. Gen. Rothberg.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that “the sixth submarine multiplies the force and capability of the IDF and the State of Israel in the face of the growing challenges. The agreement indicates our cooperation with Germany and the German government’s obligation to the security of Israel.”
Barak stressed that “the Israeli Navy has been undergoing strategic changes over the past few years, placing it at the helm of Israel’s security and the extent of the IDF’s capabilities.”