It’s the incontrovertible nature of most cover-ups that eventually they fray at
the seams. Things weren’t hermetically concealed in the so-called Harpaz Affair,
making that cover-up all the more difficult to maintain. However, there’s
no denying that a cover-up was attempted and may be
Incremental revelations of an ulcerating politicization in
the military establishment were kick-started by a bogus document allegedly
forged by then-chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi’s associate,
Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, with an eye to thwarting the appointment of
Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant as Ashkenazi’s successor. However, that – it soon emerged
– was but a facet of the much broader feud between Ashkenazi’s and Defense
Minister Ehud Barak’s bureaus.
The police went through the motions of an
investigation and quickly cleared Ashkenazi. Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein
was relieved to echo the police. But State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss
launched a probe and discovered much evidence indicating that Ashkenazi’s staff
was involved in collecting and hoarding information on rivals.
draft report revealed last March, Lindenstrauss concluded that even if Ashkenazi
didn’t directly authorize this, he should have nipped it in the bud.
things have gotten much worse. The central characters in the plot were asked to
comment on the draft. Harpaz’s reaction powerfully substantiated
suspicions of a direct collusion with Ashkenazi, indeed that Harpaz was fielded
by Ashkenazi. The draft already asserts that although Ashkenazi tried to
downplay his ties with Harpaz, in fact Harpaz was in cahoots with Ashkenazi’s
wife, Ronit, and his aide Col. Erez Weiner.
In his May 1 communication to
Lindenstrauss, Harpaz confirms that everything he did was coordinated with
Ashkenazi’s bureau, including looking for dirt on Barak and Galant. There are
also references to conversations between Harpaz and Ashkenazi geared to obstruct
Harpaz’s latest elucidations served to fan the flames even
further and moved Lindenstrauss to turn to Weinstein with an exhaustive 11-page
request to renew police investigation into “escalated suspicions of felonious
To back his detailed and quite extraordinary demands
Lindenstrauss passed on to the A-G all his troublesome findings thus far. To put
it mildly, the prosecution is hardly enthusiastic about reopening a case it was
loath to handle in the first place.
On the sidelines, Weiner has asked
the High Court of Justice for an injunction that would delay publication of the
comptroller’s report, knowing full well that Lindenstrauss’s term is nearly
over. Weiner, it now seems, would like the matter to be bequeathed to the next
comptroller in the hope that the case would languish indefinitely on forgotten,
Weinstein, in the meantime, while promising to carefully
study the comptroller’s request, has opined that nothing prevents Lindenstrauss
from publishing his report as scheduled on July 4.
Anyone who has seen
Lindenstrauss’s draft knows what dynamite it contains. All too frequently our
military higher- ups forget that democratically installed civilians are in
charge and not the other way round. When members of the military promote their
own agendas, clashes become inevitable – as apparently happened in this
situation. Prima facie, this grates hard against the democratic
It’s in the public interest that the truth come out – more
specifically, that it be allowed to. Both Weiner’s petition and the
prosecution’s foot-dragging ill serve the cause of justice.
and the prosecution both failed to live up to their obligations from the time
this sordid affair burst upon our scene. Whether intentionally or merely arising
from what may be termed unbiased incompetence, their inaction produced a result
akin to a cover-up. But it’s not too late for
Moreover, it’s the only prudent way forward. This
matter won’t die away. Any illusions should have been wiped out by Barak’s
caustic anti-Ashkenazi response to Lindenstrauss’s draft.
injured party in this instance, can be counted upon not to let anything be
suppressed. If allowed to fester this might become a latter-day version of the
noxious Lavon Affair of yesteryear. In the words of late US Supreme Court
justice Louis Brandeis, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”