State Attorney Yehuda Weinstein said Tuesday he would open an investigation into what has become known as the Harpaz Affair, named for for Boaz Harpaz, a former IDF officer who was a close friend and confidante to former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. Being investigated are Ashkenazi and his aide Erez Wiener.
In a recent report, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira said that poor relations between Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak interfered with the proper running of the army. Wiener, the report found, capitalized on and even inadvertently encouraged the deterioration of the relationship between Ashkenazi and Barak, and Harpaz, who apparently had free access to Barak's office and staff, was sent in to find out information Wiener could use against Barak, the report said.
Weiner encouraged Harpaz to delve into the Defense Ministry and try to find “dirt” on Barak. In one instance, for example, Wiener asked Harpaz to find out if members of a delegation sent by Barak to the U.S. were flying business class, after the Defense Ministry refused to allow Ashkenazi's people to fly in business class. Harpaz, an IDF officer who had resigned, was a civilian who apparently had extensive access to personnel, offices, and information in the Defense Ministry. The investigation will focus on all these issues, with an emphasis on seeking any irregularities in the behavior of Ashkenazi and Wiener.
It was not initially clear whether Harpaz will be investigated as well.
MK Uri Ariel, Chairman of the Knesset Oversight Committee, congratulated the State Attorney for his decision. “I am sure the police and investigative teams will do their utmost to investigate these grave allegations thoroughly and act to clear the heavy clouds that have gathered over the IDF in recent years,” he said.