Land Grab

by Brian on February 1, 2011

in Politics

IDF Chief of Staff candidate Yoav Galant

UPDATE: The Attorney General has decided not to defend Galant. Crime, it seems, will not be rewarded in this case!

One of the most frustrating parts of living in Israel is when people think they’re above the law. You see it on the highways (speeding, not yielding the right of way in a traffic circle) and in apartment complexes (doing construction in shared areas without clearing it with the other residents first), just to name a few.

But when a public official is caught blatantly abusing his position by grabbing land that doesn’t belong to him, that reflects badly on all of us. Which is why it’s so upsetting that the nominee for the next IDF Chief of Staff, Yoav Galant, was found in a report published last week by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to have illegally taken property belonging to the moshav in which he lives…and then lied in not one but two affidavits on the matter.

Galant’s response: it’s not my fault. Blame my lawyer. Blame my contractor.

The specifics of the case involve Galant planting a grove of olive trees on public land that he did not own, building a private driveway to his property through another patch of land, and building additional floor space in his home without a permit (for which he swore under oath that he had requested but did not).

The issues were raised on behalf of the moshav by the Green Movement. Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein must now decide, on the basis of the state comptroller’s findings, whether to defend Galant’s IDF appointment in the High Court against the Green Movement’s petition.

All this would be annoying but unfortunately Middle Eastern typical if this were not the guy who is supposed to be protecting us from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and any other militaries gunning for our destruction. If he rolls over his neighbors, what other “liberties” will he take with the law? And his “blame the other guy” attitude doesn’t bode well either.

With few other viable candidates for the position in sight, and outgoing Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi involved in his own scandal, losing Galant would be a serious blow to the country’s preparedness. But the alternative – letting an accused criminal off the hook because he’s considered indispensable – would send a message to the rest of the country that I don’t want to consider.

This article was published last week on the Israelity blog.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Brian February 1, 2011 at 10:56 am

Joseph Shmidman sent me this note by email which I’m posting here…

I read your blog post and thought you might appreciate this bit I wrote – if you remember Highlights magazine.

At the risk of dating myself, while following the Yoav Galant estate-gate saga, his name had me recalling childhood visits to the doctor’s office and reading that delightful chidrens’ magazine, Highlights; specifically, the “Goofus and Gallant” feature. So with apologies to those two darling boys (and at the risk of violating a copyright), here is a topical version – you decide whether Galant is Gallant . . . or Goofus.

Goofus takes over land that belongs to the public and builds a bombastic, over-the-top mansion.

Gallant uses only what is rightfully his, respects the environment and uses good taste in constructing his modest and elegant home.

Goofus tells whatever story he needs to and when caught in untruths attributes them to minor, insignificant technical inconsistencies.
Gallant always tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Goofus believes he is entitled to whatever he wants because of his high military position and relationships with politicians.
Gallant believes that it is a privilege to serve one’s country and that doing so doesn’t entitle him to anything more than anyone else.

Goofus thinks his jealous neighbors are out to get him and got the local media to do a hatchet job on him.

Gallant understands his neighbors’ legitimate concerns and respects the local media (OK, even Gallant doesn’t respect the local media).

I could go on but you get the picture.

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