A-G now evaluating Galant appointment

Justice Ministry vows to quickly resolve issue; military advocate general calls for probe into anti-Ashkenazi and anti-Benayahu ads.

Galant 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Galant 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Justice Ministry team established to help Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein determine his position on the candidacy of Maj.-General Yoav Galant to lead the IDF met for the first time on Sunday evening following a meeting between Weinstein and Galant earlier in the day.
“The matter is being studied with the required seriousness and thoroughness and the discussions will continue tomorrow, among other reasons, because of the need that has arisen to check a few more facts with the relevant people,” Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen said in a statement.
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The state will formulate its position on this matter as quickly as possible, the statement continued.
Weinstein is due to reply on Tuesday to questions posed by the High Court of Justice at the first hearing on a petition filed by the Green Movement against Galant’s appointment.
The petitioner charged that the Turkel Committee on senior appointments, which was responsible for determining whether Galant was morally suitable for the job, and the cabinet which appointed him, had not done their job properly by examining the candidacy thoroughly before they approved it.
Weinstein must decide whether to continue defending Galant in the wake of the findings of an investigation by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, who determined last week that Galant had lied to the court and the Israel Lands Authority and had seized land allocated to the public for his own use.
Galant and his lawyer, Avigdor Klagsblad, have argued that the state comptroller’s report was incorrect. In their meeting with Weinstein on Sunday, they presented documents and tried to prove that dates referred to by Lindenstrauss in drawing his conclusions were incorrect.
Sources in the Justice Ministry said the prosecution would try on Monday to examine the claims raised by Galant and his attorney. This will require clarifying matters with the ILA and others.
It is not clear whether the team headed by Weinstein will be able to cross-check Galant’s claims in one day. However, it is not uncommon for the state, or the petitioners for that matter, to ask for an extension from the High Court.
There is also a question as to whether the investigation currently being conducted might lead to a criminal investigation of Galant’s behavior in some of the land issues he was involved in on his moshav, Amikam.
Although he was not referring at all to the possibility of a criminal investigation, Cohen told The Jerusalem Post that at the moment, everything was up in the air.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Military Advocate General Maj.- Gen. Avichai Mandelblit called on police to open an investigation into who was behind a series of ads appearing in the Hebrew-language press that accused Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Avi Benayahu of conspiring to prevent Galant’s appointment.
The ad appeared in Yediot Aharonot and was signed anonymously by a group that claimed to not know Galant personally but to have been disturbed by what they called an attempted coup to prevent his appointment as the next head of the IDF.
Mandelblit on Sunday asked Deputy State Attorney Shai Nitzan to consider opening a criminal investigation against the people behind the ad, which he said was libelous, as it falsely accused
Ashkenazi and Benayahu of wrongdoing.