Netanyahu's cabinet secretary Mandelblit questioned in Harpaz Affair

Mandelblit served as IDF's Military Advocate-General in 2011 when affair broke; decided at time there was no evidence implicating officers.

By
June 9, 2014 14:27
2 minute read.
Avihai Mandelblit

Cabinet Secretary Avihai Mandelblit. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit was questioned Monday under suspicion of fraud and breach of trust in connection with the Harpaz Affair.

The Israel Police’s Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit said that the suspect being questioned was a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office and a former senior official in the IDF, but did not mention Mandelblit by name.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Police did not give any further information on Mandelblit’s questioning and the Prime Minister’s Office did not comment.

Mandelblit served as the IDF’s military advocate-general at the time that the Harpaz Affair came to light in 2010.

The Harpaz Affair refers to an alleged 2010 plot by Lt.-Col.

(res.) Boaz Harpaz, and possibly others, to illegally undermine then-defense minister Ehud Barak’s choice to succeed Gabi Ashkenazi as IDF chief of staff, as part of a more general battle between Barak and Ashkenazi involving both sides allegedly spying and spreading misinformation about the other.

The media had speculation that Mandelblit knew about the Harpaz Document, which was allegedly being used by Harpaz to discredit Barak’s choice – Maj.-Gen. Yoav Gallant – or temporarily been given the document by Ashkenazi.



But University of Haifa Prof.

Emmanuel Gross said that mere knowledge or possession of the document, if there was no clear proof of obstructing the investigation, could have been part of Mandelblit’s job as the army’s top lawyer at the time.

Mandelblit had decided there was no evidence indicating that any officers were involved in the affair.

However, Mandelblit’s successor at the IDF legal division, Maj.-Gen. Danny Efroni, pressed Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to order a wider investigation and Weinstein acquiesced in August 2013.

In March, former IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avi Benayahu and Ashkenazi’s former chief of staff, Col. (res.) Erez Weiner, were arrested and ordered to be kept in custody for several days for their alleged role in the affair.

Both stand accused of destroying documents, obstruction of justice and of holding and disseminating classified documents without approval.

Harpaz was also arrested, and released, in March.

Mandelblit was not arrested or kept in custody.

Ashkenazi is expected to be questioned after all connected witnesses have first been questioned.

The investigation’s conclusion could determine Ashkenazi’s political future as a possible candidate for prime minister.

Police have in the past highlighted the complexity of the investigation, code-named “404.”

They said so far they’ve questioned over 400 people and there are more than 1,000 recordings in the investigative material.

Jerusalem Post staff and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD