IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz dismissed Col. Erez Viner
from the IDF on Sunday, after Viner was criticized in the state comptroller’s
report for abetting the forgery of the Harpaz document, Channel 10
Viner, who served as top aide to then-IDF chief of staff
Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, was accused in the comptroller’s report of
egging on Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz to forge the Harpaz document and of
collecting compromising information about Defense Minister Ehud
The report prompted calls to launch a criminal investigation into
The Harpaz document, originally and briefly known as the
Galant document, was a forged document leaked by Col. Gabi Siboni to Channel 2
on August 6, 2010, describing a plan to improperly advance Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant
to become the next IDF chief of staff, and to undermine the office and power of
When the media first published the document, Galant was the
front-runner for chief of staff, and it was briefly thought that it was a
strategy by either Barak; his aides, who favored Galant; or by Galant himself,
in an effort to become chief of staff.
Very briefly, the narrative was
that whoever leaked the document did so to prevent Barak or Galant from
allegedly inappropriately influencing the process. Within a short time, however,
police decided the document was a forgery.
In a turn fit for the most
far-fetched conspiracy movies, police concluded it had been drafted and leaked
to frame Galant for actions he had not taken.
The theory of the
investigators, which the comptroller appears to have confirmed, was that someone
– eventually found to be Harpaz, who opposed Galant being appointed as IDF chief of staff – leaked the document in order to thwart his
candidacy by dragging him into a made-up scandal.
The report notes that
acting against Ashkenazi’s orders, Viner distributed the Harpaz document on May
10, 2010 to various officials, including some outside the IDF as well as current
Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.- Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.
Ashkenazi, responding to
the development, said he was sorry to hear of Viner’s dismissal and described
him as an ethical and valuable officer who contributed much to the security of
He added that Viner found himself “in an impossible reality
as a result of the conduct of the minister of defense and his bureau, who harmed
the army, as the state comptroller’s report details... The criticism leveled
against Col. Viner in the report was exaggerated, and ignored this
The IDF refused to confirm that Viner was dismissed, saying
that “the future of Col. Erez Viner will be discussed in the proper military
command channels and not through the media.”
Yaakov Lappin and Yonah
Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.