Gabi Ashkenazi
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Ashkenazi: There were no attempts at coup

In latest development in Harpaz affair, former IDF chief accepts partial responsibility for rift with Defense Ministry, yet alleges Ehud Barak's camp should own up to lion's share

The Knesset Plenum on Tuesday held a discussion devoted to the Harpaz affair. Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was in attendance to answer questions regarding the scandal involving forgery of documents and abuse of power among top IDF ranks.


The "Harpaz document" was a forged paper prepared by Lt. Col. Boaz Harpaz in an attempt to thwart the candidacy of Major-General Yoav Galant as the next IDF chief of staff and was first exposed in August 2010. It contained guidelines to building up an ostensibly positive image for Galant and discrediting Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz, while the true aim of the document was to thwart the candidacy of Galant as the next IDF chief of staff.


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Ashkenazi, then IDF chief, believed then Defense Minister Ehud Barak had devised a plan to undermine his authority and shorten his term. The defense minister, on his part, was under the impression that Ashkenazi had thought up a plan to secure himself a fifth year in office and prevent the appointment of Galant as his successor.


The headline-grabbing affair was the subject of a State Comptroller report, which concluded that while there was no attempted coup of top army leadership there was evidence of official misconduct.


Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ordered a limited criminal investigation into Ashkenazi and his assistant Colonel Erez Weiner. The investigation is ongoing.


Speaking before the Knesset Plenum Tuesday, Ashkenazi conceded that the report "answered some of the questions we were all concerned by," adding that "behind the main arguments there was a lack of understanding. It is important for everyone to remember that the comptroller stated that there were no attempts at a putsch by the military against the political leadership.”


Emphasizing that he and those around him were completely cleared of suspicions in document forging, Ashkenazi alleged that the clique of his political rival, Ehud Barak, cannot boast the same. He further criticized Barak for his involvement in appointments within the IDF, saying the governing authorities should not interfere with military procedures.


Ashkenazi accepted his share of the blame in the rift between the Defense Ministry and the IDF in recent years, saying that in his attempts to bridge the gaps he went as far as contacting the prime minister, as is reflected in the report, but "was not offered solutions. Here too, the comptroller placed the responsibility with the political rank."


Galant was eventually disqualified as a candidate for IDF chief due to unrelated allegations that he had improperly used public lands near his home in Moshav Amikam.



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פרסום ראשון: 06.25.13, 14:10
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