'End to the distress.' Galant
Photo: Ido Erez
Galant cleared of charges in land affair
Two years after scandal broke, regional council determines that mistake in building plan led to allegations that former IDF chief candidate seized public land when building his home in Amikam. Galant: Better late than never

Major-General (res.) Yoav Galant has been cleared of some of the charges in the land affair that led to the cancellation of his appointment as the 20th IDF chief of staff.


The Menashe Alona Regional Council determined Wednesday that a mistake in the building plan was what led to allegations that Galant's villa in Moshav Amikam had extended into public land.


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In 2010 the government approved Galant's appointment to the post of army chief, but after conducting an investigation into the allegations, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said that his findings "raise significant legal difficulties for the decision to appoint him."


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak cancelled the appointment based on the attorney general's legal opinion.


On Wednesday the Planning and Construction Committee of the Menashe Alona Regional Council approved a new blueprint of the borders of Galant's property, indicating that he did not seize any public land when he built his home in Amikam.


מימין: הווילה של גלנט (צילום: שאול גולן)

Galant's villa, on the right (Photo: Shaul Golan)


Speaking to Ynet on Wednesday, Galant said "Better late than never. I'm glad that the Construction Committee put an end to the distress that was caused to me and my family."


One of Galant's close friends, former Israel Navy commander Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yedidia Yaari responded to the acquittal: "I always said Galant never stole or lied; the whole affair is a scandal. The country missed out on a great chief of staff."


Addressing the possibility that Galant would be nominated to succeed current IDF chief Benny Gantz, whose term will conclude in February 2014, Yaari said "Galant was a good candidate before (the affair) and he is an excellent candidate now. We should remember that we have already had a chief of staff (Gabi Ashkenazi) and a deputy chief of staff, Yair Naveh, who returned (to the army) after retiring to civilian life."


Sources who are familiar with the details of the affair said Galant had been authorized to build the home years ago, according to law, but at a certain point it was decided to reexamine the blueprint of the area. This reexamination led to the cancellation of Galant's appointment as IDF chief, they explained.



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