(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IDF Chief of Staff-designate Yoav Galant denied the findings of the
state comptroller about improprieties in his land dealings, telling
associates "I didn't lie and I don't intend on resigning."
Earlier on Thursday, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstraus said Galant
lied to Hadera Magistrate's Court in a sworn affidavit when he said he
had asked for permission to exceed his building rights by 40 square
meters before building the additional floor space.
In his examination of Galant's land dealings, Lindenstraus found that Galant had requested the building permit retroactively, after the structure had been built.
Galant acknowledged that mistakes were made in the land dealings in Moshav Amikam.
"There were two errors found in the thousands of documents that were
checked. I didn't get anything out of the affidavits and the letters,"
Channel Ten quoted Galant as saying. He added that he intends to send
further information to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Sunday to
help clarify the issue.
Galant said that he was "convinced that there is nothing that can block the appointment to chief of General Staff."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday responded to the state
comptroller's findings, saying that only Attorney-General Yehuda
Weinstein was authorized to make decisions on the future of Galant's
The Prime Minister's Office emphasized that no action regarding Galant's
appointment to chief of Staff would be taken prior to Weinstein's
Likud minister Michael Eitan on Thursday harshly criticized Galant for
improprieties he carried out in land dealings in an interview with
Eitan said that Galant's appointment to chief of General Staff should
not be allowed to continue because he acted like a "mafioso" in his
treatment of local officials who he received preferential treatment from
because of his position to cover up unlawful behavior.
The Likud minister did not blame Netanyahu or Defense Minister Ehud
Barak for choosing an unworthy candidate to head the IDF, but rather he
blamed the Turkel Committee for not properly investigating Galant.
Lindenstrauss wrote that the authorities gave Galant special treatment
because of his high status and that this was an expression of the
improper administrative culture of the Israel Lands Authority officials
which granted him these favors. This behavior should be investigated
separately, he recommended.
In a response to the state comptroller's findings, the Green Movement,
which petitioned against Galant's appointment as incoming
chief-of-staff, said that the state comptroller's investigation not only
disclosed the false affidavit that Galant submitted to the court, but
also displayed a "very disturbing picture of a man who systematically
shifts the responsibility to others."
Weinstein must now decide, on the basis of the
state comptroller's findings, whether to defend Galant's appointment in
the High Court against the Green Movement's petition.