Gabi Ashkenazi - Olivier Fitoussi
Gabi Ashkenazi Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Alon Ron
Boaz Harpaz Photo by Alon Ron

Gabi Ashkenazi, the former IDF chief of staff, testified yesterday before State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, who is investigating the so-called Harpaz affair.

This is the second time Ashkenazi had met with Lindenstrauss to discuss the case, which involves allegations that Lt. Col. (res. ) Boaz Harpaz forged a document to influence the appointment of the next chief of staff. At the first meeting, held in October after Lindenstrauss decided to launch a full investigation into the matter, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was also present.

Yesterday's meeting was also attended by Maj. Gen. (res. ) Yaakov Or, the head of the comptroller's defense division.

Ashkenazi retired as the IDF's 19th chief of staff three days ago and has spent much of the time since preparing for the meeting with Lindenstrauss. The comptroller is investigating three aspects of the case: the document forged, the process of appointing the chief of staff; and the strained relations between Barak and Ashkenazi.

Investigative reports have revealed in recent months severe irregularities in the special operations unit of Military Intelligence, where Harpaz had served.

Despite this, Ashkenazi testified on his behalf several times when he was being thrown out of Military Intelligence. Ashkenazi received the forged document from Harpaz in April or May 2010. Ashkenazi told police he was not aware that the document was a fake and that he only had superficial ties with Harpaz.

Two weeks ago, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ordered a police inquiry to determine whether the material gathered by the state comptroller justified pressing criminal charges. A draft of the comptroller's report is expected to be sent to those involved in the case for comments within a month, but it will take at least three to four more months before the final and complete version is officially released.