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Scandal nixes appointment of Israel’s military chief

JTA

February 2, 2011 | 10:13 am

The appointment of Israel’s new military chief of staff has been canceled because of a scandal over personal real estate.

Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant had been set to succeed Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi later this month.

Galant allegedly took over several acres of public land near his home on a moshav in northern Israel.

The cancellation came Tuesday after Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said the legal difficulties made it difficult to support the appointment. Weinstein left it to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to decide whether to go ahead with the appointment.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss also conducted an investigation into Galant, which also recommended that his appointment be rescinded,
Galant on Wednesday filed an appeal with Israel’s Supreme Court, charging that the parallel investigations were illegal and also that he was not given enough time to defend himself to the two investigations.

The Israel Defense Forces’ deputy chief of staff, Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, was named as interim chief of staff while a new candidate is vetted.

Galant’s appointment was approved in September after Ashkenazi was not asked to extend his four-year term by an additional year, as is traditional.

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