IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz told a senior military forum that
the State Comptroller’s Report on the Harpaz Affair marked “a sad day for the
IDF, the State of Israel, citizens and everyone who was close to the
The report charted a feud between Defense Minister Ehud Barak
and former chief of staff Lt.- Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, which culminated in a
forged document that was leaked to the press.
“I don’t intend to be a
judge between the sides involved in this report, and I will handle my area in
the IDF,” Gantz said, speaking at the start of the General Staff’s investigation
into November’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
“Lines were crossed and
improper steps were taken in functional and ethical terms,” the chief of staff
added. “On occasion, authority was exploited in relation to other people,
through the use of information. On occasion, a good act was carried out in good
faith, but it crossed lines that must not be crossed.”
Gantz said that he
could not accept such conduct, despite his high regard for the people involved
in the affair.
Addressing the part of the report which noted that former
intelligence officer Boaz Harpaz had been able to override instructions banning
him from receiving classified information from Military Intelligence, Gantz said
that both the former and current commanders of Military Intelligence had already
repaired the loopholes that had allowed this to happen.
“We appointed two
more committees to ensure that we do not have breaches,” Gantz said, adding that
he intended to continue dealing with the afterffects of the affair.
don’t think there was ever a misunderstanding... regarding the seniority of the
government over the military wing,” Gantz said, addressing claims by Barak that
Ashkenazi had attempted to carry out an insurrection against the elected
government. The State Comptroller’s Report said no insurrection had been
“We’re pleased to know that we are a military that belongs to
a state and not a state that belongs to a military,” Gantz said. “We will
continue to carry out orders by the government in accordance with the law – that
is the situation today, and that is the situation that will continue into the
future,” he added.
Gantz said that the military had moved on and put the
affair behind it, and that the IDF was a strong organization that knew how to
recover from difficult crises.