State comptroller completes draft report on Boaz Harpaz affair
Findings, expected next week, likely to hurt former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi.
A draft of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss' report on the so-called Harpaz affair is expected to be circulated next week to those whose conduct is discussed in the report.
The affair involves allegations that Lt. Col. Boaz Harpaz forged a document in a bid to harm the candidacy of one of the candidates for Israel Defense Force chief of staff, Yoav Galant. In the end Galant was disqualified as a candidate over unrelated allegations that he had improperly used public lands near his home, and the current military chief, Benny Gantz, was appointed instead.
The final report on the affair is expected to be issued several months after the draft report is circulated and the comments by the draft's recipients are considered. The Harpaz case burst into public view in August 2010 after Channel 2 reported the existence of a document that on the face of it appeared to be a plan to undermine the standing of the IDF chief of staff at the time, Gabi Ashkenazi and promote Galant's candidacy to succeed him. In the course of an expedited investigation of the document, Harpaz initially admitted to forging the document in an apparent bid to scuttle Galant's chances. But Harpaz has since presented conflicting accounts on the matter, including a denial that he forged the plan.
Lindenstrauss' probe of the affair has included interviews with about 350 people and the draft report has taken a year and four months to complete. Apparently at the center of the investigation is Harpaz's relationship with those around Ashkenazi, particularly Ashkenazi himself and his aide, Col. Erez Weiner. The investigation also looked into the bad blood in relations between Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the disqualification of Galant and the appointment of Gantz.
In recent months, Lindenstrauss has expressed shock at what he and his staff have uncovered. According to various assessments, Ashkenazi is expected to be the party who is hurt the most by the report, although he is not suspected of forging the document. Barak and his staff are also likely to come in for criticism, but the connection among Ashkenazi, Weiner and Harpaz is expected to be particularly detrimental to Ashkenazi.