(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi
responded to recent reports about his alleged involvement in the
socalled Harpaz affair, claiming Monday night that he was not “involved
in conspiracies or the writing of any documents.”
Recent media reports have alleged Ashkenazi’s wife, Ronit, worked
closely with Boaz Harpaz, the alleged forger of the “Galant Document” as
part of a larger effort to thwart the appointment of Maj.-Gen. (res.)
Yoav Galant as Ashkenazi’s successor.
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“I have served in the IDF for 40 years and my military career is the essence of my life,” Ashkenazi said at a conference at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya. “We did not write letters or plot conspiracies.”
Ashkenazi said he was cooperating with the state comptroller’s investigation of the affair and that he was certain that no one in the IDF was involved in writing the “Galant Document” or in conspiring ways to prevent Galant’s appointment as the chief of staff.
“The police investigated the affair and concluded that no one in the IDF was involved in writing it, which did not surprise me,” Ashkenazi said.
Turning to developments in the Middle East, Ashkenazi predicted that if Bashar Assad’s regime fell in Syria, it would deal a heavy blow to Iran and Hezbollah.
“I see how concerned Iran and Hezbollah are with this development,” he said. “I think the reason the border in the Golan Heights is quiet is because everyone in the Syrian military, and up to Bashar Assad, know exactly what the military balance is between the IDF and the Syrian defense forces and they know exactly what will happen [if they attack].”
Regarding the deterioration in ties with Turkey, Ashkenazi said Israel needed to do everything possible to improve its relations with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government in Ankara. Ashkenazi said he was not surprised with Turkey’s radical shift and placed some of the blame on the European Union, which rejected Turkey’s bid for membership.
“Turkey is a very important country in the region and we have to do whatever we can and in our means not to deteriorate the situation and to work with the United States, the EU and NATO to restore the relationship,” he said.