AG Won't Support Incoming IDF Chief

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has decided not to defend the appointment of Maj-Gen. Yoav Galant as the next IDF chief of staff before the High Court, Army Radio reported.

Weinstein informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that legal problems prevent him from supporting Galant's appointment.

On January 10, the High Court heard a petition filed last September by the Green Party alleging that Galant had made inappropriate land acquisitions to his property in Moshav Avikam.

Despite the state's defense of Galant at the hearing, the court demanded further clarification of the allegations.

Meanwhile, State Comptroller Micah Lindenstrauss had conducted a separate investigation at the behest of the MK Michael Eitan, minister of government services.

Lindenstrauss found two problematic items - the first an affadavit and the second a letter written by Galant to the Israel Lands Administration.

The state comptroller accused Galant of misrepresenting his actions before the Hadera Magistrate's Court and further accused him of being less than honest on the affadavit, charges the general denied. Lindenstrauss turned his findings over to Weinstein.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who chose Galant to replace outgoing IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both stand behind Galant's appointment.

Galant is scheduled to be sworn in on February 14 unless the High Court rules that the allegations constitute a legal barrier against his appointment.

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