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Barak Holding Up Ashkenazi's Appointments

Defense Minister delaying approval for Chief of Staff's decisions to promote current IDF colonels to rank of brigadier general.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/22/2010, 7:40 PM / Last Update: 8/22/2010, 8:09 PM

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Defense Minister Ehud Barak has decided to hold up his approval for a round of promotions decided upon by the Chief of Staff, Major General Gabi Ashkenazi. In a routine decision, Ashkenazi had approved the promotion of several colonels to the rank of brigadier-general, but the promotions require the Defense Minister's signature.

Barak reportedly wants the round of appointments to wait until the new Chief of Staff, Major General Yoav Galant, is sworn in. His decision to hold up the appointments is seen as a way of snubbing Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi, whose relations with him have been tense lately. The tension has been exacerbated by the “Galant document” – a forged document that was made to look like it was drawn up by a media expert hired by supporters of Galant's appointment as Chief of Staff.

A police investigation has cleared Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi and all other General Staff members of wrongdoing in the matter.

One promotion being held up is that of Col. Erez Viener to the post of Chief Education Officer and the rank of brigadier-general. Viener was mentioned in press reports as someone who may have given the “Galant document” to Col. (res.) Gabi Siboni, who gave it to Channel 2 TV's reporters. Siboni has admitted passing on the unclassified – and inauthentic – document to TV reporters.

However, more recent reports name Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Boaz Harpaz as the police's suspect in forging and disseminating the document. Harpaz is currently abroad and will be summoned by police for questioning when he returns.