Letter to the Defense Minister: Request for Transparency of ‘Submarine Affair’ Inquiry Commission’s Sessions

On 23 January 2022, the Israeli Government announced the establishment of a state commission of inquiry into ‘the submarine affair’ [suspected corruption and bribery pertaining to a $2-billion procurement deal with a German shipbuilder] and the conduct on the matter of the political echelon under then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Zulat welcomes the establishment of the committee, but seeks to overturn the decision concerning the publicity of its deliberations. The government has chosen to impose a blackout on its sessions, even though the law stipulates that meetings of inquiry commissions must be open to the public. We seek to reverse this decision and allow the public to access all the deliberations, except in special cases when certain details need to remain confidential.

Here is what Zulat’s executive director Einat Ovadia wrote in her letter to Defense Minister Benny Gantz:

“In the submarine affair in particular, publicity is critical to preserve the public’s trust in state commission of inquiry, given that from the outset the positions for and against its establishment were painted in intense political colors and that a significant part of the Israeli public believes it is a political body whose sole role is to persecute former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. A commission operating in the dark might only deepen the rifts in Israeli society and intensify the conspiracy theories and fake news that are an integral part of the political campaign waged by the former prime minister and his supporters. In light of all of the above, we ask you to amend the decision and declare the deliberations of the commission and the minutes of its sessions open to the public.”

>> For the full policy paper read “Ensuring Transparency: Opening the Proceedings of Inquiry and Inspection Commissions to the Public”


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Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.