(Bloomberg) -- Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Sunday that he has appointed a committee to look into a past purchase of submarines and ships that is subject to allegations of corruption by associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a move that could lead to the collapse of the government.
Gantz, a political rival of Netanyahu, has in the past called for a national commission of inquiry into the scandal surrounding the state’s contract to buy the submarines from a German conglomerate. Netanyahu has denied any connection to the affair, and Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit has said the prime minister is not a suspect in the investigation.
Revisiting the case could bring turmoil to the country’s government, which is running low on time to meet a late-December deadline to pass a budget. If missed, the coalition will disband and a general election will result.
“This is further proof that Gantz is forcibly dragging Israel into elections in the midst of a crisis rather than assisting the prime minister in efforts to bring vaccines to Israeli citizens,” Miki Zohar, a member of Israel’s parliament and ally of Netanyahu, said on Twitter.
The three-person committee, headed by a retired judge, has four months to submit its findings.
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