Police investigators said on Thursday that they have found a potential suspect in the forgery of what has come to be known as the “Galant document”. However, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported that the suspect cannot be brought in for questioning since he is currently not in Israel.
Police estimate that the suspect may have had connections with high-ranked officials in the IDF. The motives of the suspect and whether he was acting alone are unknown as of yet. Police added that several attempts were made in the process of forging the document prior to its release.
The scandal over the document erupted when Channel 2 television's news team published a document bearing the logo of a well-known public relations and strategy firm, which looks as if it was prepared for Major-General Yoav Galant's use. The document outlines several ideas, some quite underhanded, for increasing Galant's chances of being selected as the next IDF Chief of Staff.
Galant denied any involvement in the matter and called the report about the document “slanderous.”
Earlier on Thursday, the police cleared the IDF of any wrongdoing in the publication of the document, and announced that IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and army brass were not involved in the forgery of the document and that it was indeed a fake, after the prosecution confirmed this fact. A report on Israel Radio said that police also have a lead as to who leaked the forged document to Channel 2 News.
Ashkenazi lauded the police announcement and said that he "never believed that anyone in the IDF was involved in this affair.”
Immediately after the announcement by the police, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said that there was no longer any legal prohibition on appointing a new IDF Chief of Staff: "In light of the vital public interest as it was presented to me and in light of the police's intermediate conclusions as they were presented to me today… I believe we can no longer say there is a legal prohibition on making a decision regarding the appointment of a new chief of staff.”Weinstein had frozen the process after the document was made public. Barak also praised the police announcement and said that he will resume the appointment process. He is scheduled to meet once again with the five leading candidates for the position of chief of staff in the coming days. On Friday, Barak and Ashkenazi are also expected to conduct a one-on-one meeting in which they will discuss the renewal of the appointment process. Barak said on Thursday that he will work closely with Ashkenazi until his term in office comes to an end.