Former IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avi Benayahu vowed on Wednesday to “uncover” an alleged attempt by former defense minister Ehud Barak to damage the reputation of Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, who served under Barak as chief of staff.

Benayahu made the comments on Army Radio, ahead of a court session over a slander lawsuit he launched against the McCan-Erickson public relations firm, and the Yediot Aharonot and Haaretz newspapers. The lawsuit said an advertisement placed by the PR agency in the two papers in 2011, which accused Ashkenazi and Benayahu of organizing a “putsch” at army headquarters, was slanderous.

The chairman of McCan-Erickson, Ilan Shiloah, came forward on Tuesday evening and announced that he placed the message in the newspapers, adding that he acted as a concerned citizen, and that he did not regret the action.

The lawsuit is part of the wider affair centering around a forged document, known as the “Harpaz document,” which was designed to discredit a candidate for the position of chief of staff put forward by Barak.

A State Comptroller’s Report released in January charted an ever-escalating feud between Ashkenazi and Barak. Relations between their two bureaus became dysfunctional to a worrying degree, the report found, culminating in the forged document.

Earlier this month, the police announced it would launch a wider criminal investigation, due to new evidence.

“At the end, they’re not after me, they’re after Gabi Ashkenazi,” Benayahu told Army Radio on Wednesday. “Ehud Barak submitted an affidavit to aid whom? Ilan Shiloah? [Now] he [Barak] is exposed to cross examination. We’ll question him on his links with Boaz Harpaz [the ex-intelligence officers charged with drawing up the false document], if they existed, and the reasons that led him and the prime minister to cancel the appointment of [Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav] Galant,” Benayahu said.

In Barak’s affidavit, the former defense minister accused Ashkenazi of being at the head of a group of senior officers that acted improperly to torpedo Galant’s appointment.

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