Outgoing General: IDF Doesn't Deserve Dirty Leadership Race

Mag. Gen. Benny Gantz calls atmosphere in which the Harpaz document was written 'unacceptable and improper.'

The outgoing IDF deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, is glad he did not compromise any of his positions in the recent race for the office of chief of staff.

With regard to the forged document that threatened to influence the selection of the next army chief, Gantz told Haaretz: "When the race began I had three rules that I maintained very firmly: I did not approach the media, I did not sully the other contenders and I did not change where I stand on matters of principle to be selected as chief of staff."

ashkenazi - Moti Milrod - December 30 2010
Moti Milrod

"I told myself ahead of time that if I don't come out of all this as chief of staff, I'll still be able to look myself in the mirror," Gantz said.

He resigned from the Israel Defense Forces a month ago, following the selection of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as the next chief of staff.

Referring to the document allegedly forged by Lt. Col. (res. ) Boaz Harpaz, Gantz said, "The atmosphere in which the Harpaz document was written is unacceptable and improper. I said in the forum of the General Staff that the room should be aired out from the stench of the carcass."

In the state comptroller's probe of the affair, Gantz added, it was not the document's "logo and the thickness of the font" that required scrutiny, but "on what foundation [the document] was created. Otherwise, the carcass in the room will continue to stink."

In Gantz's opinion, the atmosphere that surrounded the race for chief of staff - and particularly the document - was something "the IDF doesn't deserve, neither does Yoav [Galant], and neither does the mother who sent her son to the IDF induction center in August 2010."

Gantz conceded "a certain amount of disappointment" over losing the race for chief of staff, but says that he has gotten over it.

"I thought I had all the tools, that I should be there, but it's alright, the man decided what he decided," he said, referring to Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The outgoing deputy chief of staff added that he didn't think the recent tension in Lebanon over the investigation into Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination would lead to another round of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

"No one in the region is looking for the story to ignite," Gantz said. " We have no agenda in the north except security."