Israel's Attorney General Reopens Criminal Probe Into Harpaz Affair

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Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has ordered the reopening of the Harpaz affair  the attempt in 2010 to influence who would become the Israel Defense Forces’ next chief of staff. But the new investigation, at least in its early stages, is to be limited, focusing on possible violations of military law, presumably conduct unbecoming an officer.

An official announcement is expected today.

Col. (res.) Erez Weiner, a former aide to former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, is expected to be most affected by Weinstein’s decision. The current chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, recently decided to end Weiner’s service  in the IDF after the harsh criticism of Weiner in a report on the affair by the state comptroller.

Sources have told Haaretz that Weinstein’s decision followed numerous consultations with Military Advocate General Danny Efroni and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador. Efroni recommended reopening the investigation, while Weinstein was opposed. The decision for a limited investigation, which could be expanded if warranted, is a compromise. State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss reported that Weiner had systematically cooperated with Lt. Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz in collecting information against Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF chief of staff candidate Yoav Galant and others. In some instances, Weiner initiated the collection of damaging information for Harpaz or forwarded material to him.

These findings were revealed by hours of recorded conversations between Weiner and Harpaz. The latter forged a document in a bid to keep Galant from being appointed Ashkenazi’s successor. The comptroller determined that Weiner’s actions deviated from his obligation as an officer subordinate to the political leadership, even though Ashkenazi had sent Harpaz to Weiner to collect information about an alleged plan in Barak’s office.

Ashkenazi, left, and Barak in happier days. Credit: Nir Kafri

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