Ex-officer charged with fraud, forgery in years-long IDF scandal
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Ex-officer charged with fraud, forgery in years-long IDF scandal

Boaz Harpaz alleged to have leaked fake document in plot to influence 2010 appointment of army chief of staff

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Lt. Col. (ret) Boaz Harpaz outside his home in March 2012 (Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/ Flash 90)
Lt. Col. (ret) Boaz Harpaz outside his home in March 2012 (Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/ Flash 90)

A former IDF officer embroiled in a scandal that reached the top of Israel’s defense echelon was indicted in a Tel Aviv court Thursday on charges of forgery, fraud and obstruction of justice

According to the indictment filed in Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, Boaz Harpaz forged and then leaked to the press a document in an effort to influence the 2010 appointment of a successor for then-IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi, whom police also suspected of involvement in the plot to undermine then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s choice for the top post.

Harpaz’s attorneys said the former officer would prove his innocence.

“We consider the filing of these charges an opportunity to uncover what really happened six years ago, and prove that his actions were without fault,” they said according to the Ynet news website.

Former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The case involves a document written by Harpaz, a close confidant of Ashkenazi, which alleged that then high-ranking officer Yoav Galant was planning to smear Ashkenazi’s name in order to succeed him as military chief. Ashkenazi’s aide-de-camp, Colonel Erez Weiner, and then-IDF spokesman Avi Benayahu were also implicated in the affair. Weiner resigned from the army over the affair in 2013.

Barak described the affair as an attempted putsch by Ashkenazi, whose preferred candidate was Gadi Eisenkot (the current chief of staff), while Barak favored Galant (who is now a lawmaker for the Kulanu party and the current housing minister).

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, July 19, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, July 19, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The investigation into the high-ranking military scandal was sparked after the leaked document was first revealed on Channel 2 News on August 6, 2010. Within days, the police determined Harpaz was the author of the document.

In January, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein closed the case against Ashkenazi after prosecutors determined there was not enough evidence to indict him. The case against Benayahu was also closed.

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