Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has gone on the offensive against outgoing State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, charging that recent statements regarding the “Harpaz Affair” were not true, and that Lindenstrauss was misleading the public in claiming to have called for a more in-depth criminal investigation. All this, according to an exclusive report on Israel’s Channel 2 news on Thursday.
In early May, Haaretz reported that Lindenstrauss requested that Weinstein reopen the investigation upon receipt of new information that he claimed strengthened the suspicions he had presented in his March draft report on the affair. Lindenstrauss has recently been quoted by Israeli media on several occasions calling for a wider criminal investigation into the case.
Then, on May 14, Weinstein sent a letter to Lindenstrauss, which those who have seen are calling the “harshest” letter ever written from an attorney general to a state comptroller. Weinstein wrote that, “throughout the entire investigation, from its beginning to its end, through all the final communications between me and you, between my staff and the staff of your office, at no time was there any mention of the criminal aspects of this case — neither explicitly nor implicitly, not in writing and not by word of mouth.”
In 2010, Lt. Col. Boaz Harpaz confessed that he forged a document to try to prevent Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant from being appointed Ashkenazi’s successor as IDF chief of staff. The incident started a long chain of investigations and accusations that implicated senior officials in the IDF and government.
In February 2011, the government — for the first time in Israel’s history — revoked the already authorized appointment of a future chief of General Staff. Galant was disqualified for filing false dispositions regarding land use around his home. Harpaz, apparently at the behest of Ashkenazi’s wife, distributed much of this information to the press. The already retired Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz was promoted to the top of the IDF pyramid.
Earlier this month, in a letter sent to Weinstein, Defense Minister Ehud Barak accused former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi of giving and receiving bribes, claims that Ashkenazi denied, calling the accusations “delusional and unfounded.”
According to Haaretz, Barak’s attorney, Navot Tezlur, wrote that the recent state comptroller draft report of the affair shows that Harpaz had great influence over senior IDF appointments and that by empowering him in this way, Ashkenazi enabled Harpaz to receive bribes from officers looking for promotions.
Lindenstrauss’s investigation reportedly cleared Ashkenazi of direct involvement in the forgery but questioned his decision not to pass the document on to the proper authorities. The Galant Document, as it was first known, was given to Ashkenazi by his aide, Col. Erez Weiner, who is accused of improperly gathering information about the defense minister.
The investigation into the affair was carried out by Yaacov Orr, who handles military affairs at the State Comptroller’s Office.
Haaretz reported that some 350 people were interviewed for the report, which took nearly a year and a half to compile.