(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Just weeks before he is scheduled to become the next commander of the IDF,
Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant will be questioned by State Comptroller Micha
Lindenstrauss on Sunday amid allegations that he illegally seized land near his
home in Moshav Amikam.
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Galant has been designated to replace Chief of
General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi on February 14, but there is a possibility
that the appointment will be delayed.
On Thursday, Galant’s attorneys
submitted written responses to the comptroller, and Galant is scheduled to be
personally questioned regarding the affair. Suspicions are that he illegally
seized the state land and then lied about it in a subsequent legal battle with
The State Attorney’s Office has come under fire for
representing Galant in the ongoing legal proceedings before the High Court of
Justice, and in light of the new information obtained by Lindenstrauss,
Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein is expected to decide later this week if his
office will continue to do so.
“There may have been some mistakes in the
handling of the Galant investigation,” Deputy State Attorney Shai Nitzan told
Channel 2’s Meet the Press on Saturday.
Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe
Cohen said the appointment could be delayed, or even shelved, depending on the
outcome of the comptroller’s investigation.
Government Services Minister
Michael Eitan, who voted against Galant’s appointment, said the government
should have investigated the matter more thoroughly before appointing
“The process should havebeen open, not superficial and hasty while ignoring suspicions,” Eitan said in a
Sources close to Galant have claimed that he is the victim of
a “witch-hunt” that started with the publication of the so-called Galant
Document, forged by a former IDF officer who was discovered to have close
connections with current army chief Ashkenazi.
If Weinstein and the High
Court decide to delay Galant’s appointment until they can complete a thorough
investigation into the allegations, Defense Minister Ehud Barak will need to
choose a temporary chief of staff to serve in the interim between Ashkenazi’s
retirement and a final decision on the Galant case. Chances that Barak will ask
Ashkenazi to remain in the post are deemed slim due to the acrimony between the
One possibility is that Barak will ask Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, the
current deputy chief of General Staff brought back from retirement to serve
under Galant, to hold the post in a caretaker status until the legal
establishment makes a final decision on the case.
Other possibilities are
that Barak will ask a former chief of staff to return to the post for a period
of several months.