Former State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss submitted his second draft of the Harpaz report
to the inspected parties on Thursday.
Sources who read the report said that Lindenstrauss is slated to harshly criticize Defense Minister Ehud Barak
for issuing a statement claiming that former IDF
Spokesman Avi Benayahu sought to extend former IDF chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's
term by another year.
Barak was also criticized for appointing Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Yair Naveh without consulting the matter with Ashkenazi and against standard IDF protocol.
The defense minister was also criticized for failing to conduct an exhaustive check in the case of Major-General Yoav Galant's land affair before bringing his appointment as chief of staff for the cabinet's approval.
Barak and Ashkenazi (Photol: IDF's Spokespersons Unit)
The draft report further stated that the defense minister's staff collected incriminating evidence against Benayahu with the help of the Labor
Party's spokesman and delayed the round of army appointments for a year.
Lindenstauss criticized Ashkenazi over his contacts with Boaz Harpaz, the way he handled the Harpaz document and for ultimately causing its leak to the press by sharing it with Colonel Gabi Siboni.
Sources who read the draft report said there weren't any significant differences between the first and second drafts other than additional clauses pertaining to Barak's conduct. Ashkenazi and Colonel Erez Weiner were main subjects of criticism, compared to Barak.
The three will have two weeks to respond to the report. Colonel Weiner is expected to fight the conclusions and submit a detailed response within the next two weeks. Ashkenazi is expected to submit brief notes.
Meanwhile, sources at the defense establishment estimated the final report may not even be published. It will likely influence the race for deputy chief of staff. Major-General Gadi Eisenkot, who was also mentioned in the draft report, is the frontrunner in the race to replace Naveh but the report will likely not hamper his chances. Weiner's future is uncertain.
Having read the draft report, both Barak and Ashkenazi issued statements. The defense minister said he was "satisfied with the findings" and expressed his appreciation for the State Comptroller's "comprehensive" work.
A spokeswoman on behalf of Ashkenazi said the report clearly shows that the former IDF chief and his associates "were not involved in the writing, forging or leaking of the Harpaz document."
It was further stated that Ashekanzi "had never sought to extend his term by another year" and that claims that he intervened in his replacement's appointment were groundless. "It is further indicated that Ashkenazi and his associates had no contact of a business nature with Harpaz."
Aviel Magnezi contributed to this report