The meeting was held while negotiations were ongoing on a deal to purchase three submarines for the Israeli Navy, raising doubts concerning Shimron's claims that he was not involved in the deal. And while meetings between the German ambassador with representatives of German companies in Israel are not unusual, Shimron's presence raises new questions about his role.
In response to a parliamentary question, German government officials have admitted for the first time that while they are unaware of any conversations between German government representatives and Shimron since January 2014, they can confirm that one meeting was held.
"Mr. Shimron was present at a lunch in a Tel Aviv restaurant, to which ThyssenKrupp's representative in Israel invited the German ambassador on December 22, 2015. The topic of the meeting was internal and external political issues, as well as general issues," the German government said in a statement.
The meeting was held two months after Netanyahu, accompanied by then-National Security Advisor and current director of the Mossad Yossi Cohen, went to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discuss, among other things, the possibility of Israel purchasing three submarines. Inside sources said the meeting was held on the sidelines of a diplomatic event.
After the suspicions came to light, Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed he did not know of Shimron's involvement in the negotiations over the submarines deal before November 2016.
But if Shimron, a close associate of Netanyahu's, met with Ganor and the German ambassador in December 2015, it would mean there is a possibility the German government knew of Shimron's involvement in ThyssenKrupp's business a year before Netanyahu learned about it.
German financial newspaper Handelsblatt has reported that Shimron was involved in Ganor's work with ThyssenKrupp and was present at a meeting with the German holding company in Essen.
In his original comment on the case, Shimron claimed he never discussed the submarines “with the prime minister or with any other government official.”
But since then, it has been revealed that Shimron also worked in conjunction with governmental agents, as indicated by an email sent by the legal adviser to the Defense Ministry, Ahaz Ben-Ari, claiming that Shimron inquired about the cancellation of the international tender for the purchase of the vessels.
The German government's reply to the query indicates that Shimron was indeed in contact, even if indirectly, with representatives of the German government.
According to then Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, it was only in February 2016—a month and a half after the said meeting—that he was astounded to discover that Netanyahu had signed an agreement to purchase German submarines without his knowledge.
(Translated and edited by N. Elias and Yaara Shalom)