(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel Police issued its first public statement on the Galant document affair Thursday announcing that the document is a forgery. According to the press release, the complaint filed by the Arad Communications office , claiming the document was made to appear as if it originated from the company, is well founded.
The statement also cleared Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and other staff officers in any involvement in the preparation of the Galant document.
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Police investigators have found that none of the contenders for the post of chief-of-staff were involved in the writing of the allegedly forged document, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Barak on Thursday.
As a result of this finding, Weinstein told the two there was no legal reason preventing them from selecting one of the contenders for the role.
"In view of the vital public interest in choosing the next chief-of-staff quickly, as you explained to me, and given the interim police findings that were presented to me today, according to which there is no evidence of the involvement of any of the relevant generals in the preparation of the document, it can no longer be said there are legal grounds for not choosing a new chief of staff," Weinstein wrote to Netanyahu and Barak.
On August 8, the day Weinstein ordered police to investigate the document in response to a complaint lodged by media adviser Eyal Arad, he also told the prime minister and defense minister that they could not appoint a new chief of staff while the police were trying to find out who was behind it.
The attorney-general explained that "I reached this decision after studying the facts and determining the proper balance between the goal of conducting a thorough investigation and the vital public interest in preventing a delay in the appointment of a new chief-of-staff, and after it emerged that there was no basis for suspecting any of the generals relevant to the appointment procedure."
Ashkenazi lauded the police announcement that no top IDF officer was involved in forging the Galant document following a meeting Thursday with Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Dudi Cohen.
“It is now clear that great damage has been caused to the IDF and that the accusations against the military were baseless,” Ashkenazi said. “I never believed that anyone in the IDF was involved in this affair.”
Ashkenazi said that he planned to hold a special meeting of the General Staff in the near future to discuss ways to improve the IDF’s image in the public and restore the people’s faith in the military.
“We do not have the privilege to stop even for one moment the work we need to do to be prepared for the challenges that are still ahead,” he said.JPOST.COM STAFF contributed to this report.