Former defense minister Ehud Barak told police that former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi threatened him over the Harpaz Affair, Channel 2 reported on Monday.
According to the report, in testimony given to investigators during 10 hours of questioning last week, Barak said that while defense minister he told the then-chief of staff that he intended to replace him six months before the end of his term. In response, he claimed, Ashkenazi threatened him and said “You are going to war” before storming out of the room.
The Harpaz Affair involves an alleged 2010 plot to illegally undermine the process by which Barak would choose Ashkenazi’s successor. It was believed to be part of a general feud between the two involving allegations on both sides of spying and disinformation.
If this leads to an indictment against Ashkenazi – and this is still quite uncertain – it could be the downfall of a man considered one of the most popular chiefs of staff in recent history and a potential prime minister.
Last November, Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, an Ashkenazi confidante for whom the affair was named, said in press interviews that Ashkenazi had tried to obstruct the investigation, calling him and telling him to play down their relationship and the frequency of their contact.
He added that Ashkenazi, in contradiction to his statements to police, had encouraged an individual to provide documents to the state comptroller that eventually torpedoed the candidacy of Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant to succeed him.
Many say that if Ashkenazi is not indicted he will remain a strong contender should he go into politics.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.