Members of Moshav Amikam, home to chief of staff designate Yoav Galant, refused to take part in the commotion over Galant's land affair, as it played out yesterday in the State Comptroller's Office, the Turkel committee and the Defense Ministry.
"Now we have to keep quiet until a decision is made about our neighbor," one of Galant's neighbors told Haaretz.
Almost all those who agreed to speak did so anonymously, except for Malka Krauss and her brother Dado, Galant's closest neighbors who are spearheading the legal battle against his alleged takeover of public land adjacent to their homes. Galant allegedly carved roads, built a parking lot and and planted trees on land that did not belong to him.
A little over nine years ago, the brother and sister, together with several other moshav members, began conducting a legal battle against the well-connected Galant.
"We were subjected to social pressures by people who thought he deserves it because he's a military hero and the moshav would gain by his living here because of his connections in high places," said the sister.
The Krausses received no support in their campaign, she said.
"We were seen as traitors and called the 'village fools.' We were told we have no chance against him, because this is how things are done in this country. Today I feel this is a fictitious state. In every committee, every body, we were treated as though we were invisible, we felt they were covering for him everywhere."
The latest developments and questions raised by the state comptroller regarding Galant's appointment to chief of staff did not make the Krausses happy.
"This is a terribly sad day for Israel," Krauss said. "For years we have been shouting about this, the institutions and authorities - including the state comptroller and Turkel committee - had all the information, complaints and documents for years and didn't do anything with them. Suddenly everyone is shocked. What were they waiting for all this time?"
She said she had to beg the Turkel committee to accept the moshav members reservations and complaints.
"I called the committee's secretary or coordinator who refused to take the material," she said. "I asked him if they had known Hirchson had embezzled funds, would they have appointed him finance minister?"
The clerk finally agreed to take the material, but Malka doubts that the committee members have looked at it.
Most moshav members deny there are two groups in the moshav, for and against Galant. But the Krauss sister said the two groups are hostile to one another. Those who support Galant think his conduct perfectly legal and that he is being picked on.
"I know the offenses he allegedly committed, it's all nonsense and will transpire as such," Galant's friend and neighbor Ilan Schwartzberg said.
By contrast, Krauss said: "He is not worthy of being chief of staff. He simply thinks he's above the law. A chief of staff must be a symbol of ideology not a war machine."
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