Defense Minister Ehud Barak, fighting for political survival while heading a new party with dismal results in the polls, now faces accusations from a former Chief of Staff whom he accused of involvement with bribery.
The charges and counter-charges stem from a document leaked a year and a half ago, when Barak backed the appointment of Yoav Galant to succeed Gabi Ashkenazi as IDF Chief of Staff instead of extending his term, as often is done. Among other differences between the Defense Minister and then-Chief of Staff, Ashkenazi is known to be more dovish than Barak on Iran.
Former IDF intelligence officer Boaz Harpaz allegedly forged the document outlining a strategy designed to result in Galant’s promotion to the top IDF position. After the supposed embarrassing document was leaked, it was discovered to be forged and Galant was the apparent heir-apparent until a non-related incident knocked him out of the running, paving the way for Benny Gantz to be named Chief of Staff.
Last week, the legal staff of the IDF asked the Comptroller, who acts as Ombudsman, to hand over material collected from his investigation in order to decide if anyone was guilty of criminal offenses.
Barak quickly backed publication of the report that might open Ashkenazi to charges of bribery. The Ashkenazi camp threw the gauntlet back at Barak, charging that documents in the affair have mysteriously disappeared from Barak’s office
The attorney-general now is conducting an investigation into the entire affair, which has left a damaging stain on the trend of IDF officers adopting what it sees as certain government policies in order to win promotion.