Barak resumes selection process for next chief of staff

Barak meets with four of the five candidates to replace Ashkenazi.

Ashkenazi 311 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Ashkenazi 311
(photo credit: Channel 10)
While the police investigation into the so-called Galant Document continued to pick up speed over the weekend with news that the alleged forger had been identified as a former IDF officer, Defense Minister Ehud Barak resumed his search Friday for the next chief of General Staff.
Barak met Friday with four of the five different candidates to replace Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi when he steps down in February – Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi.
RELATED:State: We don't need Channel 2's copyAnalysis: ‘In the care of worthy commanders’
Barak also met privately with Ashkenazi and spoke by phone with Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni, currently serving as the IDF’s attaché in Washington DC.
Mystery continued to surround the role Ashkenazi played in the Galant affair.
On Friday night, retired IDF Lt.-Col. Gabi Siboni, who leaked the document to the press, was interviewed by Channel 2 and refused either to confirm or deny that he had received the document from Ashkenazi. He did, however, deny that it had come from his close friend Eizenkot, but said that he first came across it in the office of a senior IDF officer.
If Ashkenazi provided Siboni with the document, then it is also possible that he knew the retired officer would leak it to Channel 2.
Before the police investigation began, Galant was rumored to be the leading candidate to replace Ashkenazi.
It is still unclear how the current affair will affect the race, particularly in light of media reports that at least two of the contenders for the top job – Gantz and Eizenkot – were aware of the document before it was exposed on Channel 2 two weeks ago.
If the document is a forgery, as police have claimed, then it is possible that Galant – the victim of the alleged conspirers – will be appointed to the post. On the other hand, Barak might prefer to appoint an officer who is not at all involved in the affair, possibly one of the two candidates initially believed to have less of a chance to win – Mizrachi or Shamni.
Meanwhile Saturday, MK Danny Danon (Likud) announced that he is promoting a bill under which the appointment process for high-level security and IDF positions would undergo changes, limiting the power of the defense minister in such appointments and further involving the legislature in the process.
According to the bill, candidates for IDF Chief of General Staff, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief and Mossad chief would have to undergo a confirmation hearing before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Following the hearing, the committee would decide whether or not to confirm the appointment.