Defense minister backs Galant despite probe

Turkel appointments panel defends its recommendation of incoming chief of General Staff.

By DAN IZENBERG
January 20, 2011 01:01
1 minute read.
Galant speaks to southern command soldiers

yoav galant311 (do not publish again). (photo credit: flash 90)

 
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak has thrown his support behind IDF chief of General Staff-designate Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant amid reports that the State Comptroller’s Office has obtained information that could torpedo the future top general’s appointment.

Galant is scheduled to be questioned next week by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, whose office is investigating allegations that he illegally seized state land near his home at Moshav Amikam.

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Barak said he saw no reason to conduct a review of the allegations against Galant and expressed confidence that he would take up the top IDF post as planned on February 14. Barak said he had faith in the legal system and that it would complete its inquiry into the affair as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Turkel Advisory Committee on Senior Appointments issued a statement defending itself from a spate of allegations that it did not seriously examine the question of Galant’s personal integrity when it approved his nomination as army chief.

“The Advisory Committee is not a commission of inquiry,” the panel wrote in a prepared statement released by the prime minister’s media adviser.

“It does not have the necessary tools to conduct investigations and it is not authorized to do so. It formulates its opinion based solely on the material presented to it.”

According to the statement, the committee began to evaluate Galant’s appointment on the basis of a questionnaire he filled out, as well as interviews with Barak, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi and Galant himself.



The panel heard about the land issue, which had already been reported in the media and was a matter of public discourse, the statement continued.

“The committee did not suffice with the aforesaid questionnaire and requested further information,” the statement went on. “This was received when the candidate’s representative found a folder of documents from which it arose that all of the issues had been settled.”

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