High Court of Justice 370.
(photo credit: yonah jeremy bob)
The High Court of Justice on Wednesday declared two NGOs victorious in their
push for the attorneygeneral to widen the criminal investigation into the Harpaz
Affair, advising them to drop its petition.
But the two groups argued
they were still not satisfied since the investigation was still limited in
charges and suspects.
No decision was issued, but it was expected that
the court would either temporarily dismiss the petition, the court considering
it irrelevant having already achieved its objectives, or to essentially freeze
the petition indefinitely pending any new major developments.
for the Rule of Law in Israel and OMETZ, the Movement for the Quality of
Government in Israel, also complained to the court that the slow pace of the
investigation and the public pressure on Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein,
which was a prelude to his decision to widen it, raise severe doubts about how
long it will continue to drag and whether criminal charges are seriously being
The Harpaz Affair refers to an alleged plot by Lt.-Col.
(res.) Boaz Harpaz, and possibly others, to illegally undermine former defense
minister Ehud Barak’s choice to succeed former IDF chief-of-staff Gabi Ashkenazi
as part of a more general battle between Barak and Ashkenazi involving both
sides allegedly spying and spreading misinformation about the other.
background which the NGOs frequently fell back on to criticize Weinstein was
that for months, Weinstein refused to order any investigation into any of the
major individuals involved. These included Barak, Ashkenazi and some of their
aids, despite being repeatedly pushed to do so by former state comptroller Micha
When Weinstein finally permitted an investigation to go
forward in January, he limited it to Ashkenazi and his top aid, Col. (res.) Ezer
Viner and only for a military investigation into possible conduct unbecoming,
but with no more serious civilian charges.
For months there were public
indications that Military Advocate-General Maj.-Gen. Danny Efroni was pushing
for widening the investigation to include more serious criminal charges, but
that Weinstein was still resisting.
When Weinstein finally ordered a
wider investigation into Ashkenazi and Viner’s conduct in August, the public
perception was that he had done so under pressure from the officials mentioned
as well as the current petition before the High Court.
Though the High
Court clearly believed that the NGOs achieved their primary objective and that
there is no reason for them to continue their petition, the NGOs object to the
fact that neither Barak nor any of his aids are under investigation.
also object that even as Weinstein included the possibility of more serious
charges against Ashkenazi and Viner, there was no explicit possible charge
matching Barak’s allegation that Ashkenazi was behind the Harpaz Affair and was
attempting a “putsch” against Barak as his civilian superior on matters of
Essentially, the state and the court responded that since
the investigation was only recently broadened and has not yet concluded, it is
still possible that it will be broadened further to satisfy the NGOs’ additional
issues, making any court intervention before that time premature.