An in-depth look at the Knights of Quality Government

By: Ariel Oseran, Mqg’s Blog

On Sunday, December 22nd, 2013, The Annual Conference of the Movement for Quality Government will be held, along with the award ceremony for the “Knights of Quality Government” award. Like every year, a public committee headed by the Vice-President and former Supreme Court Justice, Mishael Cheshin, chooses to award the “Knight of Quality Government” award to citizens, public figures and institutions for their exemplary and outstanding behavior and actions that contributed to strengthening the status of democracy and public administration in Israel.

Sadly my friends…things here aren’t great. In the corruption rankings of the OECD, Israel is ranked 23rd with a score of 61(!). Just for reference, the Ministry of Education places the grade 61 under the category of “good enough” (or sufficient). I don’t want our score in corruption to be “good enough”! Do you??

Instead, we should be demanding “Enough!” to corruption and strive to improve things in this country.

Personally, I’m sick and tired of seeing endless stories about corruption on the “Channel 2″ evening news, or reading about the failures of the government on “ynet”. I believe that it is crucial, especially in such a critical and socially involved society as ours, to make a point in applauding and showing the quality performance and contributions of various leaders in our community.

However, the recognition should not only come in order to give positive reinforcement or rewarding good behavior, but it is important to pay notice to the quality and proper actions of members of the public so that also WE may learn from them and be inspired by their actions.

Of this year’s “Knights”, I chose to introduce three of the laureates:

  • Col. (res.) Yossi Langotsky – Lifetime Achievement award
  • Former MK Carmel Shama Hacohen – Legislature
  • Mr. Gidi Weitz – Press & Media

Col. (res.) Yossi Langotsky – Lifetime Achievement award

Yossi Langotsky, a born Jerusalemite, is a special and inspiring example of an individual who has operated throughout most of his life for the good of Israel, in a number of different areas.

Langotsky began his military service in the “150 reconnaissance unit” (AKA “Sayeret Shaked”). He then continued into a career service, where he reached the rank of colonel and served as a senior commander in the Military Intelligence Directorate. Following that, Langotsky was appointed military attache to Washington. It is important to note that during the battle of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, Langotsky was awarded the Medal of Distinguished Service.

Simultaneously, Langotsky chose to do his doctorate in Geology at the Hebrew University. Later on, as the CEO of the national organization for oil exploration, he was involved for decades in oil and gas exploration in Israel and around the world. These searches led to the discovery of the “Tamar” (named after his eldest granddaughter) and “Dalit” (named after his daughter) gas fields. The contribution the discovery of these gas fields to the Israeli economy is estimated at billions of dollars.

In Addition, Langotsky is one of the founders of ALUT, an NGO working with autistic children in Israel. The work of Mr. Langotsky serves as a model for continuous and constant activity for the good of Israel, and we sincerely thank him for his many years of contribution to our small country.

Former MK Carmel Shama Hacohen – Legislature

Carmel Shama Hacohen, represented the “Likud” party in the last Knesset (18th Knesset) and served as Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee and as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. Shama Hacohen stood out in his devoted service as one of the leading MKs fighting against centralization in Israeli economy, and sought to significantly raise this issue on the agenda of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Knesset, which he headed.

Shama Hacohen can (and should) be credited with the bill against centralization, which passed last Sunday (August 8th) in the Knesset! Also, after completing his term in the Knesset, Shama Hacohen continued setting an example of honesty and transparency during his candidacy for the position of mayor in Ramat Gan, when he made the complete list of his assets open to the public. If only these acts of Shama Hacohen would start a trend of transparency among the other leaders in our community. One can only hope.

Mr. Gidi Weitz – Press & Media

Gidi Weitz, a senior researcher for “Ha’aretz” newspaper, is an example of a media person with a substantial level of social commitment, combined with first rate journalism abilities. Weitz is the senior investigative reporter for “Ha’aretz” and was behind some of the most well-known investigations in recent years. Amongst these was the investigation against the former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that led to initiating the trial against him.

Weitz started his career in the Jerusalem local newspaper “Kol Ha’ir”, and later on moved to one of the national newspapers – “Yedioth Ahronoth”. There he participated in investigations related to the Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and in cases of “Crony Capitalism”, until deciding to leave the newspaper. For the past five years he has been working for “Ha’aretz” and was recently appointed head of the investigation department of the newspaper. In the past few years, Gidi Weitz strived to bring important issues to the attention andawareness of the public.

So lets hear it for them and try to learn a little about what else we can do for our country, rather than just ask what our country has done for us. Mazel Tov!

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