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Report: Bibi wants discount on German submarine
Netanyahu to travel to Berlin, lobby for a third off price of Israel's fourth Dolphin, official says
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who travels to Germany on Wednesday, will lobby Berlin to sell Israel a sixth naval submarine at deep discount, an official said.

 

Talks on the Dolphin submarine deal stalled last year after the Germans declined to underwrite it, as they had done with Israel's previous purchases. Israel sought up to a third off the $500 million to $700 million price for the new Dolphin.

 

"We're still hoping for a discount, and the prime minister will raise this matter" in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel scheduled for Thursday, the Israeli official said without elaborating.

 

Political turbulence in the Middle East has led Israel to float higher defence spending, which may allow it to absorb more of the cost of a new Dolphin. The diesel-powered submarines are widely regarded as an Israeli vanguard against foes like Iran.

 

Israel has three Dolphins in service, and two on order from Germany with delivery expected in the next two years.

 

Germany is dedicated to the security of the Jewish state, founded in the wake of the Holocaust. Merkel has championed an international campaign to rein in Iran's contentious nuclear program, which Israelis consider a potentially mortal threat.

 

But Berlin has budgetary constraints and in the past heard misgivings from German opposition parties about exporting weapons to crisis areas.

 

Netanyahu's agenda in Germany will also include trying to curb Palestinian efforts to garner European support for a unilateral declaration of statehood.

 

Merkel lambasted Netanyahu earlier this year when he phoned to complain that Germany had backed a UN Security Council vote criticising the settlements.

 

She was reported as saying she was very disappointed that Netanyahu had not done more to promote peace initiatives.

 

After his brief visit to Germany, Netanyahu will travel for talks to the Czech Republic, which is seen as one of Israel's closest European allies.

 

 

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