Barak to probe IDF conduct in 'Galant Document' affair

Defense Minister picks retired major-general to investigate top military officers' bids to influence appointment process.

barak ashkenazi 311 (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
barak ashkenazi 311
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
In a sign of growing tension between the IDF and the Defense Ministry, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday announced the appointment of a retired major-general to probe the conduct of top military officers with regard to the so-called “Galant Document” affair.
Barak dropped the bombshell during a meeting of the General Staff which he attended to raise a toast in honor of the upcoming Jewish New Year.
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Barak said that he was particularly concerned and disturbed by the alleged involvement of senior officers – some in service and others in the reserves – in the affair.
“This is not a simple affair and it leaves many questions even after the police completed its investigation,” Barak told the IDF generals.
“I am concerned by the attempt of a number of senior officers in service and in the reserves who tried to stop and delay the process of announcing the next chief of staff and to illegitimately influence the outcome,” he said.
“The attempt almost succeeded.
This was a move that fascinated the whole state for a few weeks, and damaged the public’s faith in the IDF,” the defense minister added.
The Galant Document was revealed last month on Channel 2, allegedly outlining the way to lead to the appointment of OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant to succeed Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi in February.
Police have arrested retired Lt.-Col. Boaz Harpaz, a former Military Intelligence officer apparently friendly with Ashkenazi, who allegedly forged the document.
“The events were not simple, and leave a lot of question marks, even after the police finished its investigation,” Barak said. “It is a warning sign for whoever wishes to live in a democratic country, where the military is subordinate to the government.”
Barak said he appointed Maj.- Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick, the current IDF ombudsman in charge of soldiers’ complaints, to review the affair and issue recommendations how to avoid similar incidents in the future.
In a statement interpreted as being directed at Ashkenazi, Barak said that Israeli legislation – Basic Law: The Military – is the shortest piece of legislation passed by the Knesset but is still very clear in the hierarchy of powers.
“It says the IDF will defend the State of Israel, that the chief of staff is the highest rank in the army, and that the IDF is subject to the government’s authority and that the chief of staff is subordinate to the defense minister,” he said.
“I plan to decisively and firmly stand for these simple things, which are the basis of our democracy.”