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'Gantz ousts Viner from IDF after Harpaz report'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
01/13/2013
Ch. 10 reports Gabi Ashkenazi's former aide, accused of abetting forgery of Harpaz Document, dismissed from IDF by chief of staff.
 
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 reported.

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 Barak.

The report prompted calls to launch a criminal investigation into Viner’s actions.

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 Ashkenazi.

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 the country.

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 reality.”

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.
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