Hasson: Barak and Ashkenazi refuse to testify together

State Control Committee chief threatening to subpoena defense minister and chief of staff; Defense Ministry insists on two separate meetings.

October 13, 2010 09:01
1 minute read.
Ehud Barak and Gabi Ashkenazi

barak ashkenazi 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has refused to attend a meeting of the State Control Committee if IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Asheknazi is also in attendance, Committee chairman MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) announced Tuesday night.

"The state comptroller wrote a report on how the IDF nominates senior officers, and the State Control Committee wanted to have a session on the subject," Hasson's spokesman said. "We wanted both the chief of staff and the defense minister to attend, since both appoint senior officers."

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However, the Defense Ministry told the committee that Barak and Ashkenazi never appear before committees together, and requested that the State Control Committee hold two separate sessions.

"We don't see this as acceptable, because the report has to do with both of them," Hasson's spokesman told The Jerusalem Post.

Hasson is considering subpoenaing the two, in order to force them to appear together; the State Control Committee is the only one entitled to subpoena officials.

"We've never issued a subpoena in the past," Hasson's spokesman said. "We usually just intimidate officials with the idea of a subpoena, so we're giving them some more time to change their minds."

Hasson's spokesman added that when similar situations arose in the past, the committee did not have any problems, such as when Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch appeared with Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen.

"The Defense Ministry probably has its own reasons, but the suggestion that we should discuss the report twice because they don't want to come together is ridiculous," the spokesman said.

In response, Barak's office told The Jerusalem Post: "As is accepted, the defense minister and chief of staff do not appear together before Knesset committees - not before the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, and not before any other Knesset committee."

"Customarily, the chief of staff is invited to the discussion, and then the defense minister. This is what we have requested of the State Control Committee," the spokesperson explained.

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