JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to minimize a scandal on Sunday over the purchase of German submarines, claiming his sole motivation behind the deal was strengthening Israel's security.
Netenyahu's comment comes a week after the Hebrew-language Channel 10 raised concerns of a graft revealing that Netanyahu's personal attorney, Dan Shimron, represented the German submarine maker, ThyssenKrupp.
According to reports, Shimron was involved in a 1.5 billion U.S. dollar deal between the Israeli government and ThyssenKrupp to purchase six submarines from ThyssenKrupp, with the last vessel scheduled to arrive in 2018.
Recently however, the government decided to order three further submarines from the company.
Concerns of misconduct increased further after former security minister, Moshe Ya'alon, stated his objection of the submarines' purchase, saying no security justification existed for the procurement.
However, the deal was finalized after Ya'alon was replaced.
On Sunday, Netanyahu made his first comment on the issue stating that "the security of Israel requires the acquisition of submarines and the renewal of the submarine fleet," he told his cabinet.
"These are strategic weapons systems that ensure the future, and I tell you, the very existence of the State of Israel for decades to come," he said, as per a statement released on his behalf.
"Increasing the security and strength of the State of Israel is the only consideration that guided me in acquiring the submarines," he said.
Reports on the connection between one of Netanyahu's closest proxies and the German company sparked an outrage.
Opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, urged the Knesset, or parliament, to establish a committee to investigate the accusations.
The State Attorney's Office opened a probe to determine if a criminal investigation was warranted.
In addition, an editorial in Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper wrote that the issue is "crying out for investigation, like other affairs in which Netanyahu is concerned."
"The public needs to know whether Israel's government is headed by a corrupt politician, or not," read the editorial.