Special panel to probe chief military defender´s office (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel 08/10/12)
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A special committee will scrutinize the office of the IDF´s chief
military defender due to criticism by former State Comptroller Micha
Lindenstrauss. Military defenders have come under fire because of
their role in the Harpaz affair on influencing the selection of the
next chief of staff.
Lindenstrauss accused Col. Erez Weiner, an aide to former Chief of
Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, of collecting incriminating information about
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, together with Lt. Col Boaz Harpaz.
Weiner, who is trying to clear his name, is represented by Chief
Military Defender Udi Ben-Eliezer and other lawyers serving with Ben-
Eliezer in their reserve service.
A panel to examine and define the powers of the chief military
defender´s office will be appointed by Military Advocate General
Danny Efroni. The committee is to be headed by retired High Court
Justice Dalia Dorner.
Weiner´s legal battle heated up with High Court of Justice petitions
in which Weiner and his lawyers crossed swords with Lindenstrauss.
Weiner´s response to the comptroller´s draft report, submitted over a
month ago, includes harsh attacks on the credibility of the defense
minister and complaints about Maj. Gen. (res. ) Yoav Galant. His
chances of becoming chief of staff were meant to be compromised by
the forged letter at the heart of the Harpaz affair.
Efroni was chief military defender until five years a ago.
Administratively, that office answers to the military advocate
general, but it enjoys great freedom.
Conflict arose over this freedom during the 1990s, when young
military defenders petitioned the High Court of Justice against the
Israel Defense Forces and military advocate general. One issue was
conditions under which detainees were being held.
Controversy also arose following the Second Lebanon War, when
military defenders represented some generals whose actions during the
war were being investigated by the state comptroller and the Winograd
The Dorner panel is to examine issues such as which officers and
soldiers in the career army, the reserves and the regular army are
entitled to representation by the military defender and under what
The committee will also be asked to define rules of conduct for
military defenders in both the career army and the reserves. Such
rules include ties with journalists. For example, the chief military
defender´s office enjoys the rare privilege of speaking to the press
without the intervention of the IDF Spokesman´s Office, as long as
the purpose is to benefit a client, not for personal advancement.
Efroni has informed Ben-Eliezer of his intention to establish the
committee, which has been endorsed by Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. (©
Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 08/10/12)
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