New IDF Chief Nominee to Face Vetting Committee on Wednesday

The Turkel committee for approving senior civil service appointments will decide on Gantz's posting.

The 2000 death of a Border Policeman in Nablus and the 2005 receipt of an unusually large payment from the army for personal moving expenses are two of the issues that will be examined during the vetting process for Benny Gantz, who has been tapped as the next Israel Defense Forces chief.

The Turkel committee for approving senior civil service appointments will examine the earlier decisions - by the High Court of Justice, the military prosecutor and an internal military inquiry - which found no reason to pursue legal action against Gantz for any involvement in those incidents.

gantz - Moti Milrod - February 9 2011
Moti Milrod

The panel may reach a conclusion about Gantz as early as today, after Gantz and the outgoing chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, are scheduled to appear before the committee.

Gantz has the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who met with the committee yesterday as part of the process. They said they were not aware of any ethical lapses that could impede Gantz's confirmation as Israel's 20th IDF chief.

The issue is particularly sensitive since Gantz became a candidate only after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided that he would be unable to defend in court the appointment of another top officer, Yoav Galant, who is accused of improperly using public land for private use.

As a result, Netanyahu and Barak withdrew Galant's appointment and chose Gantz, the deputy chief of staff, as Ashkenazi's replacement.

If the Turkel committee approves Gantz's appointment and there are no unexpected obstacles, the cabinet will likely green-light his posting Sunday. He would then take office Monday.

Barak flew to Washington yesterday for meetings with Obama administration officials, and is due to discuss the Galant affair with a Knesset subcommittee when he gets back.