The German Federal Security Council, which monitors the export of German military goods, has approved the delivery of the fifth of six submarines to Israel, the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.
The six Dolphin-class submarines were ordered by Israel several years ago, with the fourth one, the INS Tanin, delivered last September. The submarines are being built by the German shipyard HDW in Kiel.
The deal between Germany and the Jewish state has been a point of contention for several years in Germany.
Approximately one third of the cost of each new submarine is covered by Germany as part of the country’s military aid to Israel.
Critics inside Germany say the burden to pay off the hefty price tag of building the submarines falls on the taxpayer’s shoulders.
Also, it is generally assumed that Israel modifies the submarines after delivery so that they can be outfitted with one or more nuclear cruise missiles. Israel has never officially admitted nor denied that it is in possession of nuclear weapons.
The fifth submarine, the INS Rahav, is expected to be delivered by 2017. Israel is reportedly contemplating ordering three more from Germany.
According to a report in Der Spiegel, Germany is “helping Israel develop its military nuclear capabilities” by supplying the submarines.