Defense Minister Ehud Barak picked a fight on Wednesday with Military
Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi in another escalation related to the
ongoing State Comptroller investigation into the Harpaz Affair.
Wednesday, Yediot Ahronot published sections of Barak’s testimony in the
comptroller investigation during which the defense minister said that while
Kochavi was “talented” he did not understand the “world of
Barak was discussing an appointment Kochavi had made
within MI of an officer who was close to Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, the
alleged forger of the controversial document.
The document detailed a
strategy of how to get former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant
appointed chief of staff in place of Ashkenazi. It was leaked to Channel 2 in
2010 and was discovered to have been forged, leading to a comptroller
investigation into the relationship between Harpaz and former IDF chief of staff
Speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv, Barak tried to
correct the gaffe. While he praised Kochavi for allowing Israel’s citizens and
political leadership to “sleep well at night” due to his work as MI chief, he
criticized him for not being familiar with the “power struggles, anonymous
letters that exist not only there but also there. This is what I mean that Aviv
does not understand.”
Barak then tried to correct himself again and said
that Kochavi’s failure to understand the situation might actually be a positive
reflection of the type of officer he is.
A former commander of the
Paratroopers Brigade and Gaza Division, Kochavi was appointed head of Military
Intelligence in 2010. He is held in high esteem within the military and the
government but a number of senior MI officers have stepped down in recent months
in protest of various appointments he has made.