Gantz freezes promotion of investigated officer

IDF chief of staff freezes promotion of Col. Erez Viner, suspected of forging document in Harpaz affair.

August 23, 2012 20:43
1 minute read.
IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz [file]

IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz 390 (R). (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)


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IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz froze a pending appointment of an army under investigation on Thursday.

Col. Erez Viner, once personal assistant to former chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, is being investigated by the State Comptroller’s Office over suspicions he may have been involved in an affair involving a forged document, which shook up the IDF brass and exposed serious hostility between Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

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The document, known as the ‘Harpaz document,’ after Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, a former intelligence officer accused of drawing it up, was designed to damage the reputations of senior IDF officers who were contending for the post of chief of staff, and who were backed by Barak.

Viner is under investigation after it emerged that he was in close contact with Harpaz.

He was due to be appointed chief education officer in the IDF before Gantz’s decision.

The IDF spokesman said the decision to freeze the promotion was not taken lightly, adding that a new education officer would be selected in the near future.

“Once the state comptroller’s examination is complete, and if there are no legal obstacles, Col. Viner will compete” for another position, the IDF spokesman said.

Had Viner been awarded the promised position, he would have been promoted to the rank of brigadier-general.

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