Top Israeli General Resigns Over Stolen Military Computer

Maj. Gen Hagai Topolansky, head of the IDF's Manpower Directorate, was interrogated earlier. Military Police are investigating whether the files on the laptop contained military secrets.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Maj. Gen Hagai Topolansky.
Maj. Gen Hagai Topolansky.Credit: עדי בראון / דובר צ
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Maj. Gen Hagai Topolansky, head of the Israeli army's Manpower Directorate, resigned on Wednesday after his computer and the classified information it contained was stolen.

Topolansky was investigated under caution earlier on Wednesday after his house was broken into during the night between Monday and Tuesday and several objects, including a military-issued laptop possibly containing sensitive military secrets, were stolen. His car was also stolen. The Israel Defense Forces said that the Military Police was investigating whether the computer actually contained classified material and that this is under investigation.

Military regulations state that laptops may not be left in military vehicles or in an officer's home outside of a safe. In cases in which laptops or classified dossiers were stolen in the past, the offending officers were relieved of their post and a Military Police investigation was opened. Topolansky, who is the officer in charge of the Military Police, decided not to wait for the chief of staff to make a decision regarding him and tendered his resignation himself.

The IDF Spokesman issued the following statement: "His decision is accepted with a heavy heart out of enormous admiration for Maj. Gen. Topolansky. He is a highly regarded accomplished officer of many merits, a combat pilot, who gave his whole life to the security of the State of Israel, and his actions are an expression of the norms expected of all commanders."

Topolansky has held his position for two years. He recently lost a bid to be named as Israel’s next air force chief, and had therefore been expected to retire from the IDF once completing his current role.

But Topolansky has also come under the harsh criticism of military rabbis and senior Religious Zionist officials who accuse him of offending religious soldiers, by instituting rules such as restricting beards, reducing the influence of military rabbis and placing a Jewish consciousness program once run by the rabbis under the jurisdiction of his own office.  

Eisenkot addressed critics on Tuesday, saying these steps were intended to strengthen the army, and accused :"interested parties from the outside" of criticizing these steps "solely to advance their personal agendas.”

Two months ago a general in the reserves was suspended for two weeks for the theft of a personal computer, and a year ago an artillery commander in northern command, Lieut. Col. Ilan Levy, was dismissed after military documents were lost inside a car of his that was stolen.

Topolansky joined the pilot's training course in 1984. He was part of the team that oversaw the creation of one of Israel's F-15 fighter squadrons and later became commander of an F16 squadron at the Ramat David airbase. He then moved on to become the head of the air force's planning and organization department and then to command the airbase of Hatzerim. Afterward, Topolansky served as commander of a fixed wing group and was eventually appointed as Chief of Staff of the air force. In 2014, he was promoted to major general and named as head of the Manpower Directorate.

Upon accepting the position, Topolansky said he would act to achieve greater equality between IDF service members, including to widen opportunities for women in the army.

During his time as Manpower Directorate chief, Topolansky adopted a new model for the career army that included a multi-year plan that reduced the number of career officers to less than 40,000 officers and non-commissioned officers.

Topolansky also faced the issue of sexual misconduct in the army and warned of a worrying increase in reported incidents.