Comptroller’s Harpaz Affair report to be published

Gantz: Events surrounding efforts to discredit Maj.-Gen. Galant an ‘ugly carcass’ polluting IDF.

Harpaz 311 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Harpaz 311
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The long-awaited report on the Harpaz Affair is set to be published on Sunday, the State Comptroller’s Office said on Wednesday.
The affair initially referred to an attempt by Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz to discredit Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant during the selection process to replace then-IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.
But the affair eventually took on a much larger significance, leading to a full publication of a surreal, behindthe- scenes all-out war between Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak over a range of issues, including who would replace the outgoing army chief.
The press release from the State Comptroller’s Office on Wednesday quoted current Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz as framing the events described by the report as an “ugly carcass” left in the room without being properly tended to that was polluting the higher echelons of the IDF.
The report will be based on more than 300 interviews, a review of thousands of pages of documents and listening to dozens of hours of recordings, such as dramatic telephone conversations between many of the major players.
Although State Comptroller Joseph Shapira will publish the report, he made it clear that he did not reexamine the findings of his predecessor, Micha Lindenstrauss, who had mostly finished the report when his term ended last summer. Instead, Shapira adopted his findings in the interest of bringing the affair to a close.
Shapira defended the decision to publish the report right before an election, saying that past comptrollers had made it clear that reports should be published without regard to the political calendar.
He added that drafts of the document had been distributed as early as May 2012 and that it was important to publish the report as the parties it pertained to, a veiled reference to Ashkenazi and Barak, had publicly jockeyed to characterize it for their own purposes.
Meanwhile, Col. Erez Viner – who, as Ashkenazi’s former chief of staff, is one of the main parties in the affair and the most likely to face criminal charges – filed a petition in the High Court of Justice on Wednesday against aspects of the report.
Later in the day, the court issued an order compelling the comptroller to respond and placing a gag order on the petition and the proceedings surrounding it, other than reporting that it had been filed and that the court had issued an initial order.