|Russo, Galant, Ashkenaza and Barak toast wine 311.(Photo by: IDF Spokesman)|
Ashkenazi, Barak trade fire over Harpaz report
By YAAKOV LAPPIN AND JOANNA PARAZCZUK
Defense minister says he's satisfied by the report, a sentiment Ashkenazi calls "premature and very exaggerated."
A draft report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss into the Harpaz Affair
and the dire state of relations between former IDF chief of staff
Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak sparked a
new war of words between the two men on Sunday.
The report slammed the
conduct of Ashkenazi, but also criticized Barak over a disturbing feud that
developed between the two most senior defense figures in the country at the
Barak said in a statement that he was satisfied by the report’s
findings. Without mentioning Ashkenazi by name, Barak described the report as
addressing a series of grave developments that were aimed at subverting the
The report highlighted a “dangerous organizational subculture
of a small group in the IDF leadership, with the assistance of a few civilians
who operated with no authority, and who worked against the political echelon
above it, and against its own officers,” Barak said. “It might only be the tip
of the iceberg,” he added.
The defense minister said he accepted all of
the comments directed at his own conduct and that of his
Ultimately, Barak had “no reason to take back a single word of
what he said in public or closed doors regarding this affair,” the statement
“These types of activities bring disgrace” to the IDF command and
its values, and must never be repeated, Barak said. He called on the IDF to
remain an “apolitical” army.
Sources close to Ashkenazi returned fire,
telling Channel 10 that the report was very critical of Barak, and that the
defense minister’s satisfaction with it was “premature and very exaggerated.”
Regarding himself, Ashkenazi said he never denied making
Lindenstrauss sent a copy of a draft on Sunday afternoon to
most of those mentioned in it. The report took 14 months to complete, and was based on the testimonies of 300 witnesses, primarily military
commanders and security officials, as well as thousands of documents and phone
transcripts, a spokesman for the state comptroller said.
Boaz Harpaz, a former intelligence officer and an associate of Ashkenazi, denied
accusations by police that he forged a document in 2010 that detailed plans to
damage the reputations of senior IDF officers who were contending for the post
of chief of staff.
The document was designed to appear as if one of the
contenders at the time, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, who had been Barak’s
choice to replace Ashkenazi, had ordered for it to be drawn up.
document’s publication threw an intense media spotlight on simmering tensions
between Ashkenazi and Barak.
Lindenstrauss’s report cannot be published
in full until all of the concerned parties have a chance to reply to
The report took Ashkenazi and his bureau to task for allowing Harpaz
to become involved in the affairs of the IDF chief of staff, for collecting dirt
on Barak and for failing to notify the state comptroller of the fact that
Ashkenazi’s bureau had come to possess the document.
Lindenstrauss cleared Ashkenazi of accusations that he organized a rebellion
against Barak, and dismissed reports of business connections between Ashkenazi
Channel 2 said Barak also did not escape criticism in the
report, adding that the state comptroller accused him of delaying army
appointments as part of the feud with Ashkenazi, and failing to attempt to calm
A source close to Harpaz said that the former intelligence
officer was “very pleased” about the fact that the draft report “clearly showed”
that claims of business ties between himself and Ashkenazi’s family were
There was also no evidence found to back up claims that Harpaz
forged the document, the source added.
“Harpaz is not the main figure in
this affairs,” his media adviser, Ronen Tzur, told Channel 1.
leader Zehava Gal- On expressed concern over Lindenstrauss’s findings in a
speech in Herzliya on Sunday night.
“How can we rely on the
highest-ranking offices that deal with our most sensitive security needs when
they are tainted by intrigues, ethical lapses and a lack of integrity?” Gal-On
asked. “It is unfortunate that they put personal interests ahead of the national
interests of the State of Israel.”
Gil Hoffman contributed to this