(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The High Court of Justice on Monday gave the state 10 days to explain what steps
had been taken to correct the error by which 350 square meters of public open
space were included in the Moshav Amikam homestead belonging to incoming IDF
chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant.
The court also instructed
the state to explain why Galant had been given 35 dunams of agricultural land,
unlike any of the other “late-comers” who settled in the moshav, and why the
state had erred in its response to a previous petition, when it said that Galant
wasn’t the only one who wasn’t a founder or descendant of a founder to receive
such an allotment.
The panel of three justices – headed by Esther Hayut
and including Uzi Fogelman and Yitzhak Amit – was hearing a petition filed by
the Green Party against the appointment of Galant, who is due to begin his term
on February 14.
However, the Green Party and several of its members have
asked the court to revoke the government’s September 5, 2010, decision to
appoint Galant and to order the Turkel Committee, which recommended that he be
appointed after determining that he was a suitable candidate from an ethical
point of view, to reconsider the matter.
“We are arguing that in a
substantial and vital way, the committee did not investigate the moral aspect of
Galant’s conduct,” the Green Party’s attorney, Nadav Appelbaum, told the court.
“The [missing] facts are part of the problem, and the committee should have
referred to them in its opinion.”
According to the law, the Turkel
Committee must examine the ethical conduct of candidates for key positions,
including chief of General Staff, and submit a recommendation that the
government must take into account before deciding on the appointment.
petitioners charged that Galant had acted improperly in his land dealings with
the moshav by building a parking space for his family on open green space,
paving a 10-m.- wide, 40-m.-long access road to the parking space over what had
been a narrow public road designated for pedestrian traffic only, and planting
trees and extending his private garden onto public open space adjacent to his
homestead. Furthermore, a local authority map of his homestead included 350
sq.m. of land that was actually designated as public open space.
Israel Lands Authority had given Galant 35 dunams of land, which none of the
other late-comers had received. In addition, Galant had annexed another 28
dunams of an adjacent area that did not belong to him.
When the matter
was revealed, he was ordered to leave the area. He did so, but only after three
The state’s representative, attorney Einat Golomb, argued that all
of these facts had been known to the Turkel Committee when it declared that
Galant was ethically suited to the job.
“The committee had a broad basis
of information, including details on all the issues, as well as statements and
decisions made by the authorized bodies that dealt with these matters,” said
But the justices were not convinced and demanded to know what
Galant had done to correct his problematic conduct.
“According to the
petitioners, there is someone who systematically seizes control of 28 dunams of
land and still hasn’t settled the issue of the 350 sq.m. of land that he was
supposed to,” said Fogelman.
“There is also the affair of the trees
planted on public open space adjacent to Galant’s homestead. I would like you to
explain all this.”
Regarding the 350 sq.m.
“annexed,” in a local
property map, to Galant’s homestead, Golomb said many such errors had been made
and the moshav planned to solve all of them in one plan.
With regard to
the 35-dunam plot, Golomb said the Israel Lands Authority had authorized the
allotment and declared that there was nothing wrong with it. As for the parking
space and the pedestrian road that had been turned into a private access road,
Golomb said Galant was not using them, although he had not restored them to
their original state.