The long-awaited report on the Harpaz Affair is set to be published on Sunday,
the State Comptroller’s Office said on Wednesday.
The affair initially
referred to an attempt by Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz to discredit
Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant during the selection process to replace then-IDF chief of
staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.
But the affair eventually took on a much
larger significance, leading to a full publication of a surreal, behindthe-
scenes all-out war between Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak over a
range of issues, including who would replace the outgoing army chief.
press release from the State Comptroller’s Office on Wednesday quoted current
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz as framing the events described by the report as an “ugly carcass” left in the room without being
properly tended to that was polluting the higher echelons of the IDF.
report will be based on more than 300 interviews, a review of thousands of pages
of documents and listening to dozens of hours of recordings, such as dramatic
telephone conversations between many of the major players.
Comptroller Joseph Shapira will publish the report, he made it clear that he did
not reexamine the findings of his predecessor, Micha Lindenstrauss, who had
mostly finished the report when his term ended last summer. Instead, Shapira
adopted his findings in the interest of bringing the affair to a
Shapira defended the decision to publish the report right before
an election, saying that past comptrollers had made it clear that reports should
be published without regard to the political calendar.
He added that
drafts of the document had been distributed as early as May 2012 and that it was
important to publish the report as the parties it pertained to, a veiled
reference to Ashkenazi and Barak, had publicly jockeyed to characterize it for
their own purposes.
Meanwhile, Col. Erez Viner – who, as Ashkenazi’s
former chief of staff, is one of the main parties in the affair and the most
likely to face criminal charges – filed a petition in the High Court of Justice
on Wednesday against aspects of the report.
Later in the day, the court
issued an order compelling the comptroller to respond and placing a gag order on
the petition and the proceedings surrounding it, other than reporting that it
had been filed and that the court had issued an initial order.