The Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Monday expressed confusion over how the Likud could ask it to order exposing the 2010 calls between Gabi Ashkenazi and Avichai Mandelblit from the Harpaz Affair when the issue is pending before the High Court of Justice.At the time in 2010, current attorney-general Mandelblit and current Blue and White MK Ashkenazi were serving as IDF chief lawyer and chief of staff, respectively. They were dealing with how to handle a document forged by a third party, Lt.-Col. (ret.) Boaz Harpaz, in a battle between Ashkenazi and then-defense minister Ehud Barak over key decisions, including who would succeed Ashkenazi as chief of staff in 2011. Judge Guy Avnon noted that already in 2019 and earlier in 2020, a different magistrate’s court, district court and three-justice panel of the High Court had rejected the same request when it was put forward by Channel 13 reporter Baruch Kra.The three justices who rejected the request – Noam Sohlberg, David Mintz and Alex Stein – are considered to be among the court’s right-wing, conservative members, meaning that allegations of favoritism to Ashkenazi would be misplaced.Kra later asked for an unusual wide High Court panel to hear the issue, Avnon said, adding that this request is still pending, with various parties to the petition due to file responses on March 1 and a hearing expected weeks or months later.The Likud has jumped on Kra’s recent airing of some of the Ashkenazi-Mandelblit conversations to demand revealing all of them.All previous courts have held that such revelations would both harm national security and harm the ability of future chiefs of staff to function, as they would need to expect even their most private conversations with close advisers, including lawyers, could be publicized.Avnon said the Likud’s request was not drafted like a normal legal one with proper attention to nuance of which conversations might have the possibility of being revealed and addressing issues of balancing the public’s right to know with harm to national security.The Likud needed to revise its request and address the technical deficiencies before he could analyze the motion, he said, adding that there was no way a decision could be made on such complex issues before the March 2 election.Mandelblit, Ashkenazi and Barak were all criminally probed. But then attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein decided against indicting any of them, only moving forward with indicting Harpaz, who forged the document in dispute.Many of the Mandelblit-Ashkenazi conversations were already revealed years ago through leaks of the call transcripts to several media outlets.