(photo credit: Channel 10)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began efforts to end the internal fighting
among the IDF’s top brass and Defense Minister Ehud Barakn on Wednesday, when he
issued his first statement since the story about the socalled “Galant document”
broke nearly two weeks ago.
Netanyahu met with Barak to discuss the
ramifications of the document and is scheduled to meet with IDF Chief of General
Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi in the coming days. He called on the IDF brass to
“stop dealing with the investigation” and to continue to cooperate with the
the care of worthy commanders'
IDF Chief had
Galant document for weeks
Ashkenazi tries to save face
“I expect the top ranks of the military and the
security establishment to continue to work together and cooperate on behalf of
Israel’s security,” the prime minister said.
Sources close to Netanyahu
said he felt pressured to comment on the affair due to reports that relations
inside the General Staff had deteriorated to a new nadir.
minister does not believe it has gotten to the point where the functioning of
the army has been hurt, but he wants to remove any doubts, because he bears
overall responsibility,” a Netanyahu associate said.
Netanyahu’s media adviser, denied a report on Channel 2 that Barak had tried to
persuade the prime minister not to release a statement about the
The defense minister has made a point of not commenting on the
Netanyahu spoke with Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein on
Wednesday and asked him to speed up the police investigation.
from the police probe into the affair “hurts us all,” Ashkenazi said on
Wednesday in his first public remarks regarding the document, which is the
center of a row over the selection of his succesor as IDF chief.
affair hurts every individual involved,” Ashkenazi said during the graduation
ceremony for the 21st class of the IDF’s Command and Staff College in Tel
“The worst part of this affair is that it affects our most
important asset... the belief and support of the people of Israel, which we come
from and whom we are responsible for protecting.”
came a day after he confessed to having had a copy of the document in his
possession over a month before the story broke on Channel 2. IDF officers
continued on Wednesday to question Ashkenazi’s motives for not handing over the
document to the attorney-general or the military advocate-general and instead
storing it in a drawer in his office.
Ashkenazi said that the IDF needed
to continue its mission of defending the State of Israel, and at the same time
to prove that it was worthy of the public’s faith.
He said that the army
was cooperating with the police investigation.
“We have confidence in the
Israel Police and the law enforcement agencies that they will uncover the truth
as soon as possible,” he said. “If a flaw is found, it will be dealt with
One question on which many officers speculated was how the
affair would affect the race to replace Ashkenazi in February, after media
reports claimed on Wednesday that at least two of the contenders for the top job
– Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen.
Benny Gantz and OC Northern Command
Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot – had also been aware of the document but had not come
If the document is a forgery, as police now assume, then it is
possible that OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant – the victim of the
alleged conspirators – will be appointed to the post.
On the other hand,
Barak might prefer to appoint an officer who is not at all involved in the
affair, possibly one of the two candidates initially believed to have less of a
chance of winning – OC Central Command Avi Mizrahi or Maj.- Gen. Gadi Shamni,
the military attaché in Washington.
According to Channel 1, both Galant
and Eizenkot were questioned by police on Wednesday, as was a close friend of
Ashkenazi’s who may have played a significant role in the scandal.
first comments about the affair, Gantz told Channel 2 during a visit to Germany
that the army could examine itself.
“The IDF bears on its shoulders the
weight of the nation and a tremendous responsibility,” he said.
act out of this responsibility, and therefore we must hasten to examine