After more than two emotional years that stirred a storm in the defense establishment, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira was finally set to issue his report on the so-called Harpaz affair on Sunday.
The affair acquired its name from Lt. Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, who allegedly plotted to thwart the appointment of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as Israel Defense Forces chief of general staff by formulating and leaking a forged document outlining Galant's efforts to be named to the post. The document was made to look as though it was written at Galant's behest, and it included a strategy that involved making the other candidates look bad.
The state comptroller's report will include four main sections. The first section addresses the document and the collection of information. The second section deals with the charged relationship between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and then IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and their respective offices. The third section is about the process of selecting and appointing an IDF chief of general staff, and the last section deals with information security leaks from intelligence units in the IDF.
In a statement issued before the release of the report, Shapira stressed that the atmosphere surrounding the investigation into the affair had been extremely charged, saying that involved parties had tried incessantly to affect the public agenda with their biases in an effort to influence the results of the investigation.
"The State Comptroller’s Office is without bias," Shapira wrote. "Its integrity, in which the public trusts, serves as a cornerstone for its work."
Col. (res.) Erez Weiner, a former aide to Ashkenazi, filed a petition with the High Court of Justice last week against the state comptroller, but did not seek to prevent the report from being issued.
In his statement, Shapira wrote, "The police investigation that focused at the time on the forgery of the document was left with a lot of factual and ethical question marks reflected by, among other things, a remark by [current IDF Chief of General Staff] Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz who described the situation as a 'stinking corpse' left in the room without any thorough care."
In light of requests made to former State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to look into the affair, he decided to carry out a systematic investigation. The investigators, from the Security Department of the State Comptroller's Office, examined thousands of documents and hours of recorded material, and held more than 300 meetings with individuals including top defense officials, public officials and media figures.
In May 2012, Lindenstrauss approached Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein asking him to renew the criminal investigation into the affair. The request stemmed from new, significant allegations fielded by the state comptroller during interviews with persons of interest in the affair. The central source of new material was Harpaz himself, as well as transcripts and recordings that emerged during the investigation of Ashkenazi's office. The new evidence "raises a real concern of criminal acts."
Though months have passed since then, the attorney-general has yet to issue a decision on the matter.