Tel Aviv – Israeli state television reported on Friday that former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi is alleged to have “leaked the second most guarded secret” in the country.
Channel 1 reported that investigators have compiled evidence that is likely to serve as the basis for an indictment against Ashkenazi and two other trusted aides with whom he served in the military.
The television network reported that the nature of the information that was allegedly leaked is so sensitive that military censors are preventing journalists from revealing further details.
Police this past fall recommended to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein that he indict Ashkenazi, the prime minister’s cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit, former IDF chief spokesman Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avi Benayahu and three other former senior army officers as part of the Boaz Harpaz affair.
Those additional officers are Ashkenazi’s former chief-of-staff Col. (res.) Erez Viner, former Golani Reconnaissance Battalion commander Col. (res.) Gabi Siboni and Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz.
The list of suspects, which made up a large portion of the state security establishment’s high command only a few years ago, is unprecedented.
The Harpaz Affair was an alleged 2010 plot by Harpaz to illegally undermine then-defense minister Ehud Barak’s choice to succeed Ashkenazi as IDF chief of staff, as part of a more general battle between Barak and Ashkenazi involving both sides allegedly spying and spreading misinformation about the other.
Regarding the central allegation that Barak had brandished against Ashkenazi and the other former IDF officials, the police rejected any charge of a “putsch” to overthrow him.
The police also rejected all allegations that Ashkenazi or the others had any connection to Harpaz’s forging of the document, which started the entire investigation, even adding that the investigation lent further support to their claims of non-involvement and their belief that the document was not a forgery.
Furthermore, the police rejected any allegations that Ashkenazi’s or the others’ alleged spying or trying to undermine Barak rose to the level of criminality, while criticizing their actions generally as ethically problematic.
Still, the police recommended charging Ashkenazi with somewhat more minor and borderline offenses, including two separate counts for breach of public trust and illegally revealing classified material.