Netanyahu, Barak Announce Galant No Longer New IDF Chief

Announcement comes after months of controversy surrounding allegations that Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant seized public lands near his Moshav Amikam home.

Haaretz Service
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have cancelled the upcoming appointment of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant to the post of Israel Defense Forces chief, the two informed the Major General on Tuesday.

The announcement comes after months of scandal surrounding his appointment due to allegations that he had seized public lands near his home in Moshav Amikam in northern Israel. Galant was designated to succeed current IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi this month.

After conducting an investigation into the allegations, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said that his findings "raise significant legal difficulties for the decision to appoint him."

Netanyahu's office said that pending selection of a substitute for Major-General Yoav Galant, who was to assume the top post on Feb. 14, he would be replaced by the current deputy chief of staff, Major-General Yair Naveh.

On Tuesday, Weinstein said that it was up to the prime minister and defense minister to decide whether or not Galant could take up the post as new IDF chief of staff.

Earlier in the day, Weinstein notified Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he could not defend Galant's appointment as chief of staff due to legal impediments.

Four weeks ago the court justices asked Weinstein to provide explanations regarding two issues in his report on the allegations that Galant had seized public land, which he did Tuesday.

The first issue involves an error on the map of Galant's plot at Amikam, which extended his property by 350 square meters at the expense of public land. The justices want to know the steps that have been taken to correct the error and the timetable for putting everything right.

The second concerns another 35 dunam parcel that was allotted to Galant and the erroneous information provided about it by the state in connection to an early High Court petition, from 2008.

Since last month's hearing State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss issued his own report on the issue of Galant's land, in response to a complaint by Improvement of Government Services Minister Michael Eitan.

Lindenstrauss concluded that Galant had been less than truthful in two documents - an affidavit submitted to the High Court on his behalf and a letter in his own handwriting to the Israel Lands Administration. Weinstein's submission to the court will thus also have to relate to these findings.

Former incoming IDF Chief of Staff Yoav GalantCredit: Alon Ron



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