Saturday November 22, 2014
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22.11.2014
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The report and the punishment
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Dan Margalit

Shooting the messenger

Common sense and justice are finally beginning to emerge. Two and a half years after leaking the forged document, now named after Boaz Harpaz, to Channel 2, Col. Erez Weiner has been asked to leave the military. Instead of carefully studying the state comptroller's report (on the Harpaz affair surrounding the bitter rivalry between former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak) and asking for forgiveness from his fellow soldiers and from the Israeli public for all the forbidden telephone conversations he took part in, Weiner tried to give the impression that he was the victim in the whole affair. Ashkenazi, who may have reason to worry about what Weiner might say, came out in his defense, arguing that "[Weiner] was put in an impossible situation as a result of Ehud Barak's conduct." Ashkenazi is trying to insult our intelligence: The only person who put Weiner in an impossible situation is Ashkenazi himself. The only valid, moral defense of Weiner's behavior may be what MK Uri Ariel, the chairman of the State Control Committee, said Sunday: "Weiner is only the messenger in this affair."

This truism was repeated by Weiner's attorney in remarks quoted by Channel 1 on Sunday evening: "He carried out Ashkenazi's orders, and believed that they were legal."

What did he believe? That it was permissible to devise a plot together with retired officer Boaz Harpaz to film a senior officer in a compromising situation so that he could be extorted? (Someone really needs to check whatever happened with that). That he had to hand the document over to Dr. Gabi Siboni, who directly handed it to Channel 2? Did he believe it was okay for the Ashkenazi gang, which he served as an operations officer, to hack into forbidden databases to check the frequent flier miles amassed by the defense minister's wife?

The end of Weiner's military career (which includes many accomplishments as well) is not the end of the road for him. It should be seen as the start of a new chapter. Only if Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein puts an end to the toxic foot-dragging and does what is so desperately called for — launch a criminal investigation against the individuals involved in the affair, from Harpaz to Ashkenazi — and only if a way around Shaul Mofaz's bizarre opposition to the establishment of a government investigative commission is found, only then will the truth really come out. Because this country hasn't seen such a serious scandal since the Lavon affair in 1954.

Two people have already paid a heavy price — Weiner and Harpaz — but they are just the supporting actors. They had a commander and his name is Ashkenazi. He deserved a fair, but thorough investigation. It is unacceptable for Weinstein or Mofaz to trip up this investigation to protect those suspected of transgressions, for the benefit of the sons of darkness who would prefer to see the entire affair simply evaporate.

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