IDF Officials Arrested Over Forgery Scandal

Former aide to the IDF Chief of Staff, spokesperson, arrested after new evidence emerges in the Harpaz Affair.

Ido Ben-Porat, Tova Dvorin ,

Police brutality? (illustrative)
Police brutality? (illustrative)

New developments in the Harpaz Affair surfaced Wednesday, as former IDF spokesperson Avi Benyahu and former aide to the IDF Chief of Staff Erez Weiner were both arrested over forgery charges. 

The "Harpaz Affair" is the name given to allegations that Lieutenant-Colonel Boaz Harpaz forged a document that was intended to prevent General Yoav Galant from being named former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi’s successor. Military police have been investigating Ashkenazi and other top officials on suspicion of improper conduct, which is a crime under military law. 

Weiner was publicly booted from the IDF in January 2013 over allegations that he contributed to the feud between Ashkenazi and former Defense Minister Ehud Barak. That feud precipitated the forgery, as Barak pushed for Galant's succession to the Chief of Staff post. 

Harpaz himself was brought to court and sentenced on Tuesday over his role in the scandal, and is confined on house arrest for ten days. Benyahu and Weiner, still awaiting trial, were brought to court to extend their detention period for an additional five-day period. 

Weiner and Benyahu are being charged on counts of obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, fraud, breach of trust and above all conspiracy. However, the two men are not suspected of forging the document itself.

The police request for Wednesday's hearing regarding the two suspects stated that "each of them worked together with others to collect and distribute material denigrating the military and politicians while committing several offenses, including destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice." The police statement also accused the two of "holding classified materials unlawfully" and labeled them as "dangerous to the public order." 

The recent investigation into the incident, which occurred over three years ago, has been brought back to the courtroom following a decision by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to re-open the case earlier this year. The decision, Weinstein claims, stems from evidence which was not previously known during the initial investigation.