Former Defense Minister Ehud Barak has come out in favor of a full criminal investigation into former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, with whom he had a notoriously adversarial relationship. Barak made his position clear in a response to the Supreme Court.
The court sought Barak and Ashkenazi’s responses to a petition by the Movement for Quality Government protesting the fact that the Harpaz affair controversy ended with an internal IDF investigation, rather than a criminal investigation.
Barak accepted the organization’s complaint, agreeing that material gathered by the State Comptroller gives rise to clear suspicions of criminal behavior. The suspected behavior violates the spirit of the IDF as well as the norms of a democratic society, he said.
The dramatic testimony in the comptroller’s report must be fully investigated, for the sake of the public interest, Barak said.
Ashkenazi gave a statement opposing a criminal investigation. The main issue in the Harpaz Affair was the public aspect of the affair, he said, which was investigated in depth by the State Comptroller, leaving no need for an additional investigation.
In the Harpaz Affair, Lieutenant-Colonel Boaz Harpaz, a confidant of Ashkenazi’s, allegedly forged a document intended to prevent Yoav Galant – Barak’s preferred candidate – from becoming the next IDF Chief of Staff.
Former aide to Ashkenazi Lieutenant Erez Wiener was suspended from service over issues related oto the Barak-Ashkenazi dispute. A state comptroller’s report sharply criticized both for the tension between their offices.