Former minister convicted in plea deal over ‘submarine affair’

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Former Keren Hayesod chair and government minister Eliezer (Modi) Zandberg on July 21, 2004. (Flash90)
Former Keren Hayesod chair and government minister Eliezer (Modi) Zandberg on July 21, 2004. (Flash90)

Eliezer (Modi) Zandberg, a former government minister and head of Keren Hayesod, is convicted of breach of trust by the Tel Aviv District Court over what is known as the ‘submarine affair’ in a plea bargain.

The “submarine affair” involves allegations of graft over a large contract with the German industrial and ship-building conglomerate Thyssenkrupp for the acquisition of several naval vessels.

Zandberg is convicted of arranging and participating in three meetings between Thyssenkrupp agent Miki Ganor and then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff Eyal Haimovsky during his time as chair of Keren Hayesod, an official fundraising organization for the State of Israel, from 2010 to 2018.

Zandberg also pleads guilty to having passed on information he obtained from state employees to Ganor to help him advance the Thyssenkrup deal while having received NIS 103,000 ($29,000) from Ganor in 2012-2016.

This was a conflict of interest for Zandberg given his position, the conviction states. Under the terms of the deal, the court will be asked to impose a seven-month suspended sentence, carried out as community service, and a NIS 50,000 fine.

While Netanyahu has been investigated over his own role in the ‘submarine affair,’ he was never officially a suspect in the case.

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