Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein announced on Tuesday night that he is opening a military criminal investigation of former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and his former top aide Col. (res.) Erez Viner for conduct unbecoming under military law.
The investigation will be carried out by military police, not civilian police. At this stage, there are no plans for an investigation under civilian criminal law.
Weinstein had originally intended to announce the investigation in two or three days, but moved up the announcement after Channel 10 leaked the story on Tuesday evening.
Knesset Control Committee chairman Uri Ariel told Channel 10 news that he “supports the decision of the attorney-general to accept my request to open a criminal investigation against those involved in the Harpaz Affair.
“I am sure that the police will do their work faithfully and investigate the grave issues in depth and act to remove the heavy cloud from the high command of the IDF,” Ariel continued.
There was no mention in the Justice Ministry’s announcement of an investigation into Defense Minister Ehud Barak, despite the fact that he was also the subject of heavy criticism for his conduct in the affair. Barak could not be the focus of a military criminal investigation since he was a civilian during the affair.
On Tuesday night, Ashkenazi called on the attorney-general to
investigate Barak as well. It is unacceptable that there are documents,
recordings and investigation conducted only on one side of the affair,
Ashkenazi was quoted by Israel Radio as saying.
The Harpaz Affair was an attempt by Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz to discredit Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant during the selection process to replace Ashkenazi.
But the affair eventually took on a much larger significance, leading to a public airing of a surreal, behind-thescenes all-out war between Ashkenazi and Barak over a range of issues, including who would replace the outgoing army chief.
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