The Turkel Committee on senior appointments approved the appointment of Major-General Benny Gantz as IDF chief of staff. The committee's report was handed over to Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday. The government is slated to approve Gantz's appointment on Sunday.
The committee had accesss to the attorney general's report on the appointment.
The Turkel Committee pointed to three reservations in relation to Maj.-Gen. Gantz's appointment: His involvement as commander of the Judea and Samaria Division in the Joseph's Tomb incident which killed Border Guard soldier Madhat Yussuf, unauthorized construction in his home in Rosh HaAyin and claims regarding benefits he received after relocating to north Israel while serving as Northern Command chief.
On the matter of Yussuf's death, the committee determined that it did not find fault with Gantz's conduct as he was not the highest ranking commander at the scene, and pointed to to the fact that the military operation involved political considerations.
As for claims regarding benefits he received after relocating to the north, the committee determined that Gantz has been cleared of any charge and that no fault has been found with his conduct, noting that the case on the matter had been closed. The attorney general's opinion on the matter, which was handed over to the Turkel Committee, did not find any criminal fault with Gantz's conduct either.
Gantz and Ashkenazi (Photo: Anat Mosberg)
In respect to the building violations, the attorney general's office determined that the terrace the officer built in his yard on public land was removed in the shortest possible time.
As for construction in his home, it was noted he had admitted to building extensions to his home without receiving building permits.
The papers Gantz submitted indicate that he had expanded his house in 1999 by 60 square meters (645.832 sq. ft.). He noted that his request for a building permit had been approved in principle by the local committee, subject to standard conditions which were not met for various reasons.
No building permits. (Photo: Ohad Zoigenberg)
The attorney general's office said there were flaws in Gantz's conduct which were not serious enough to compromise his eligibility for the position of chief of staff. The Turkel Committee accepted Gantz's explanations and did not find any fault which could compromise the appointment. The committee noted it appreciated Gantz's candor and integrity.
The committee's opinion suggests that outgoing Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Barak both praised Gantz. Barak noted that Gantz has the rare and important ability of instilling harmony around him and Ashkenazi described the officer as a highly talented and experienced man who has withstood many trials over the years.
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