IDF Spokesman Avi Benayahu with Defense Minister Ehud Barak
IDF Spokesman Avi Benayahu with Defense Minister Ehud Barak in 2009. Photo by David Bachar
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The police have questioned IDF Spokesman Avi Benayahu at least three times in connection with the so-called Galant document that allegedly reveals a PR campaign for one of the candidates to become the Israel Defense Forces' next chief of staff, Channel 1 news reported last night.

The police are expected to question dozens of senior IDF officers this week, as well as members of the defense minister's office and staff of strategic consultant Eyal Arad, who has been linked to the document.

The police are focusing on whether the document promoting Brig. Gen. Yoav Galant revealed 10 days ago is genuine or a forgery, and who may be behind it.

The police are not looking into who may have leaked the document, which is being kept in the safe of the Petah Tikva District Court until a decision is made on whether the police may have access to it.

Channel 2, which broke the news of the document, opposes the police's request to have access to the original document.

The police are investigating based on Arad's complaint of forgery and fraud; the document was allegedly prepared by someone in the strategist's office.

The police say none of those questioned, including dozens of army officers, officials at the Defense Ministry and people at Arad's firm were questioned under warning.

Channel 1 revealed yesterday more details about various sub-stories in the affair, including some that besmirch the current chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi.

Barak presses on

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak intends to carry on with the process for choosing Ashkenazi's successor.

The general view among sources close to Barak is that the Galant document is a forgery, something that will be proved soon.

Under such circumstances, Barak plans to press on regarding the appointment and decide next month.

The soap-opera-like stories surrounding the appointment reached their latest peak yesterday when Channel 1 reported that during Operation Cast Lead, which Galant commanded as GOC Southern Command, he was accused of going to dinner with friends and not visiting his wife, who was undergoing radiation treatment.

Ayala Hasson of Channel 1 said that when she called him for a response, Galant had very harsh things to say; for example: "During Operation Cast Lead I was faced with three campaigns: the military operation in Gaza, my wife's illness and the knives that were stuck in my back by IDF Spokesman Avi Benayahu."

Benayahu said he "was certain Galant had not said such a thing."