(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The top echelon of the Justice Ministry was still closeted in the office of Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein at press time Monday night, considering whether to continue supporting the appointment of Maj.- Gen. Yoav Galant as the next IDF chief of General Staff.
RELATED:Barak backs Galant as appointment goes down to wireKnesset C'tee postpones Ashkenazi farewell
The ministry refused to comment on the deliberations. A final decision was to be announced late at night or on Tuesday at the latest.
Analysis: Legally and ethically, Galant cannot hold the top IDF post
Galant is due to be sworn in as chief of General Staff on February 14. However, Weinstein must decide whether to continue defending Galant’s candidacy against a petition by the Green Movement, which has called on the High Court of Justice to overturn the government’s decision to appoint him.
The petitioners based their demand on allegedly shady, if not illegal, behavior by Galant regarding a number of land affairs on his moshav, Amikam.
The Green Movement filed the petition in September and the first hearing on the petition was held on January 10. The state defended Galant against the allegations that he had seized land allocated for public use and turned it into private access roads, taken over 26 dunams (2.6 hectares) of land that did not belong to him, and built part of his home without a permit.
The court was not satisfied with the state’s answers and ordered it to provide clarifications on how he had obtained 35 dunams of land for an olive orchard and how he had annexed 350 meters of land to his homestead.
Furthermore, the court demanded an explanation as to why the state, in an earlier petition, had mistakenly informed the court that other newcomers to the moshav had also received additional allotments of 35 dunams. The state admitted its error during the hearing, when it told the court that no other newcomer had received an allotment and that those who had requested it had been turned down by the Israel Lands Authority.
In the meantime, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss had already begun investigating aspects of the Galant appointment, including a document written by Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz attempting to influence the choice of the new chief of staff, and the land allegations against Galant.
A few days after the court had demanded answers from the state, Lindenstrauss informed Weinstein that he had new information that might affect the state’s response to the court.
Last week, after handing over the details to Weinstein, Lindenstrauss
publicly released the new information, which included allegations that
Galant had lied to the Hadera Magistrate’s Court about the illegal
expansion of his home and other matters.
On Sunday, Galant and his lawyer, Avigdor Klagsbald, met with Weinstein
and tried to convince him with documents and maps that Lindenstrauss’s
findings were based on errors.
After that meeting, the attorneygeneral convened a group of top
prosecutors to consult on what the state’s answer should be to the Green
Movement petition in light of the state comptroller’s report and
They are due to present their response to the High Court on Tuesday.