(photo credit: Channel 10)
Ran Nizri, a top aide to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, said on Tuesday that
Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz will be indicted for forging the Harpaz
Marking the first time the Attorney-General’s Office has
publicly expressed its intention of pressing charges against Harpaz, Nizri spoke
at a hearing of the Knesset Control Committee with a who’s who of the nation’s
security and legal establishments in attendance.
There had been rising
speculation that after years of delay in filing charges against Harpaz, the
state might have found reasons to drop the case against him.
Nizri said the indictment is almost ready and that the only reason for the delay
in indicting him – two-and-a half years after the affair exploded onto the public
agenda – is to allow the ongoing investigations to be completed and to add all
additional leads to the indictment.
Nizri added that had the state filed
an indictment before completing the investigation, it would have been accused of
negligence and jumping the gun.
The Harpaz Affair refers to a document
forged by Harpaz in an effort to discredit Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant’s
then-candidancy for the position of IDF chief of staff, as well as shocking and
embarrassing related battles between then-chief of staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi
Ashkenazi and thendefense minister Ehud Barak over policy and interpersonal
disagreements that eventually became public.
Judge Advocate-General Maj.-Gen. Danny Efroni told the Control Committee that he
could not give an exact timeline for a decision on whether he would indict
Ashkenazi and his former top aide Col. (res.) Ezer Viner.
committee chairman Amnon Cohen (Shas) as to whether a decision would be made
within two to four months, Efroni demurred, but said that investigators would
work as hard as they could to arrive at a decision as soon as
Ashkenazi and Viner are under investigation for violating
military law by engaging in unbecoming conduct related to interpersonal battles
with Barak during their IDF service. They deny all allegations against
While Efroni was mostly treated with great respect, former state
comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss blasted Weinstein – who was not present – and
Weinstein’s top adviser Nizri – who was present – both professionally and
personally, for failing to file any civilian criminal claims against Ashkenazi
and Viner (as opposed to the military criminal investigation). Lindenstrauss
also accused them of misleading him regarding the timeline for making decisions,
claiming they had said they would reach decisions within two weeks after a
meeting, but then failed to do so.
Cohen threatened a state commission of
inquiry into Weinstein’s and the Military Advocate-General Office’s handling of
the matter if the investigations and decisions did not move forward
Nizri responded equally aggressively, saying that it was
Weinstein’s prerogative as the state’s top legal official to disagree with
Ashkenazi highlighted that the comptroller’s final report
had found “there was no putsch, nor any plan for a putsch.”
He added that
the report said that “neither he nor any of his advisers forged or leaked” the
Ashkenazi took responsibility for not earlier reporting
that he had a copy of the document to authorities, saying that “I am not free
from mistakes,” but also contextualized his decision in light of his feeling
that due to the problems between him and Barak, he had no one to turn
Ashkenazi pointed out as he started speaking that “not everyone is
here,” essentially accusing Barak, who did not attend, of avoiding the public
scrutiny that Ashkenazi was ready to face.
A source close to Barak said
that he is out of the country and had informed the committee in advance that he
would not be able to attend because of prior commitments.
Ashkenazi for cancelling a planned trip out of the country to attend the
Others present at the State Control Committee included State
Comptroller Joseph Shapira, Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot
and Defense Minister director-general Udi Shani.
Though Shani was also at
the center of the Harpaz Affair, on Barak’s side of the dispute, he kept his
statements limited to other issues, such as the Defense Ministry’s correction of
problems with maintaining security for its classified
Neither the IDF nor the Defense Ministry expressed any
serious movement toward legislation to set an exact term and process for
appointing the IDF chief of staff, as recommended by the comptroller’s report on
the issue, but all officials continued to support the idea in principle.