Sadly, such things are to be expected in Israel

It is not clear whether a criminal offence has been committed in the case of the "Galant Document". If the list of dirty tricks to be used in the campaign for Israel's most prestigious job, Chief of Staff of the IDF, was compiled by an employee of the most powerful PR firm in the country, it won't be a matter for the police or courts. If there was a fabrication or forgery, it still does not feature high on the scale. Someone wrote a to-do list and stuck on a false logo. It's hardly a hanging offence in a country where the foreign minister is the subject of an international money-laundering investigation.

That did not stop the Attorney General from launching an investigation, to be conducted by the elite national flying squad. But whatever the investigation unearths, it seems it is too late. Whether a leading candidate for the job was using spin doctors, a total forgery leaked to the press to harm Galant or, as many now believe, a list prepared by someone in Defence Minster Ehud Barak's office, the image of the IDF staff has taken a severe beating.

Public shock and politicians' outrage aside, there is nothing really new here. Behind the scenes, the CoS appointment process was rarely clean. The only difference this time is that the media has finally taken the lid off the can of worms, in real-time.

Can it be otherwise in a system where ambitious generals spend years preparing to be propelled to the position that instantly assures them national adulation, and the ministers who make the call know they are appointing not only the army's supreme commander, but the man who, when he retires from uniform, will be a potential rival for political leadership?

Last updated: 2:26pm, November 8 2010