AG Weinstein Mulls Galant Case

Ashkenazi delays farewell events until decision reached.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who met yesterday with Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant and Galant's attorney Avigdor Klagsbald, has yet to reach a decision on the suitability of Galant's appointment as the next chief of staff.

Officials at the Justice Ministry said yesterday that Weinstein and colleagues in the State Prosecutor's Office are determining whether there is a legal reason to stop Galant from taking the top Israel Defense Forces post, in light of the claims that have been made against him.

galant - Olivier Fitoussi - January 31 2011
Olivier Fitoussi

Meantime, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi deferred farewell events that were planned in his honor today in the Knesset, due to the developments concerning Galant.

Ashkenazi was supposed to attend a festive meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which had been organized to honor his contributions as IDF chief. But a decision was reached last night to postpone the Knesset committee meeting; committee members acknowledged that the deferral was due to the Galant affair, and said the farewell event will be held once disputes over the appointment are settled.

Yesterday afternoon, the IDF chief designate presented Weinstein with his version of events, claiming the dispute concerning his property on Moshav Amikam has been blown out proportion, and that criticism leveled against him is erroneous.

Galant told the attorney general that he did not knowingly lie in the deposition he filed with the court, or in a letter he sent to the Israel Lands Administration. He handed Weinstein a number of documents which, he claims, support his version.

After meeting with Galant and Klagsbald yesterday, the attorney general held consultations with his assistants and top officials at the State Prosecutor's Office. Weinstein is expected to hold more consultations this week.

Legal sources indicated yesterday that there is a strong chance Weinstein will ask the government to refer the decision about Galant's appointment to the Turkel Committee, which previously confirmed the appointment without having in its possession most of the materials related to the land dispute at Moshav Amikam.

Weinstein is expected to relay an updated report on the affair to High Court justices who are reviewing a petition submitted by the so-called Green Movement, protesting Galant's ascent to the top IDF position.