Quality Report Headlines | March 2015

For full report (in Hebrew) visit our Hebrew website: http://www.mqg.org.il

40,000 Israelis join the Movement’s campaign: Keep Aryeh Deri out of the government – Following announcements according to which Deri will soon be appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, (a position that when last held by him resulted in his being found guilty of accepting a bribe, moral turpitude and his incarceration in Maasiyahu Prison,) the Movement embarked on a broad public campaign, calling on the Prime Minister not to appoint a convicted criminal to such a senior position, with a budget of billions at his disposal. It is inconceivable that Aryeh Deri should be returned to the same post that he exploited in order to embezzle huge sums of public money. Some 40,000 Israelis have already signed the campaign petition, which is on-going.

The Movement’s Response to Olmert’s second court ruling in the Talansky case – The day on which a former prime minister is finally found guilty is not a happy one. It is a sad day, following which there is the dawn of a new day, where the Israeli public is granted the opportunity for reawakening and maturation; a day on which Israel’s judiciary and law enforcement authorities ought to be honoured. The court in Israel has made it abundantly clear that integrity in public service through the safeguarding of our most valued commodity – the public’s faith in its representatives – is a precious thing. Whoever breaches this trust ought to be condemned and punished. On this difficult day, a day on which a former prime minister was sentenced to sit behind bars, Israel’s judiciary and law enforcement authorities have demonstrated that only a significant incarceration sentence can constitute a deterrent and build norms of good governance and integrity in public service.

How is real estate transferred from the Jewish Agency to a private company? A 250 million NIS auction was conducted for the selling of tens of structures that currently make up an absorption centre for Ethiopian migrants in Mevaseret Zion. However, it is entirely unclear how the land was transferred from the Jewish Agency to a private company – the company managing Agency workers’ pension funds, which will derive a substantial benefit from land meant for the promotion of the migrants’ welfare. Additionally, there is serious concern that 1300 downtrodden workers will consequently be displaced without an alternative solution being arranged. After the Israel Land Authority ignored the Movement’s communications on the subject, the Movement petitioned the court in November 2014 to demand the information. Thanks to the petition, in March 2015 the Israel Land Authority was forced to admit that the documents did not exist at all. The Movement is currently considering its next legal steps following this controversial discovery.

Chairperson of Ashdod Municipality Workers’ Committee found guilty in four counts of breach of trust and continues to handle public funds – The chair of Ashdod Municipality Workers’ Committee, Iris Naftali, was found guilty in February 2015 of four counts of breach of trust. Despite this, she continues to work at Ashdod town hall and manage public money. Following this, the Movement urgently appealed to Ashdod Municipality and demanded that Naftali be fittingly prosecuted, leading to the termination of her work there.

The Dolphinarium Compound – After we were successful in bringing about the NIS 1.3 billion grant of public funds to billionaire Buchman the campaign continues. We demand all relevant information to be delivered into our hands, especially after the announcement that Buchman is preparing to sell the compound to a group of investors. This is a serious issue that reeks of crony capitalism: after neglecting the compound for many years, Buchman was supposed to receive an estimated NIS1.3 billion in real estate rights compensation in exchange for the demolition of the property, which is valued at approximately 30 times that amount, in a deal drawn up with the Tel Aviv Municipality. In the wake of the Movement’s actions, the committee decided not to make the grant. In March 2015 we turned to the Israel Land Administration with a freedom of information request for the decision-making details on the subject, as well as planning suggestions, protocols, and the exemption committee’s decisions, in order to conduct a thorough examination of the agreement and the concerns of judicial, financial and planning failings. Moreover, we appeared before the local planning and construction committee with regard to the agreement on the merging and division of the land.

Following the movement’s petition: serious report concerning The Ma’ayan HaChinuch HaTorani revealed – The Movement petitioned the court against the Ministry of Finance, requesting the publication of the report commissioned by the Ministry concerning Shas’s Ma’ayan HaChinuch HaTorani. The Ministry has not published the report, despite the passage of the legal amount of time and the severity of drafts of the report, which contain inexplicable gaps of millions of shekels in funding teaching hours, fake salary payments to non-existent people or people outside the organisation, the employment of friends and relatives for thousands of shekels, a budget deficit of NIS140 million (all of which was covered with state funds) and repeated attempts to withhold information during the investigation. The individual who chaired the network in the period discussed was Yoav Ben Tzur, now a member of Knesset. In March 2015, following the petition, the report was published and the Movement immediately turned to the Accountant General, demanding that recommendations for handling the aforementioned shortcomings in the report be drawn-up, published and brought into action.

A demand to publicize the report of the committee for the needs of holocaust survivors – The report analyses existing failings in the care provided for holocaust survivors in Israel and even contains some recommendations. The Movement approached the Prime Minister’s Office with a freedom of information request for all documents concerning the report to be delivered within 30 days (the time allotted by law). The step was taken in the wider context of the Movement’s continuing fight against failings in care for holocaust survivors, a fight that is being undertaken in the face of many government bodies with a demand that serious and speedy action is taken before there is nobody left to help.

The Afula Municipality attempts to dismiss a councillor who is asking tough questions about correct administration – Shlomo Shalom is an opposition councillor in Afula Municipality, who until recently was also a member of important committees at the council. However, after making enquiries relating to good administration and the waste of public funds at these aforesaid committees, he attempted to hold to guidelines, and opposed the decisions of mayor Yitzhak Miron (who was recently arrested under suspicion that he received a budget of millions from Israel Beytenu in exchange for nominating a member of the party as his deputy). Councillors then voted to retract Shalom’s membership of the committees. The Movement impressed upon Afula Municipality that the dismissal was handled improperly and is void, as are all decisions that were taken during councillor Shalom’s absence.

Following the Movement’s demands, Upper Nazareth Mayor found guilty of bribery, Shimon Gapso, has suspension period lengthened – After the Movement demanded that the Attorney General submit a request for the extension of Gapso’s suspension period, the Attorney General acted accordingly and Gapso’s return to the mayoralty was prevented, only a few weeks after he had been found guilty of accepting a bribe.

Political parties fined – will the public pay? The General Comptroller has written in his past reports of the shameful fact that political parties fined during the election often pay those fines and their legal costs with public funds. The Movement demanded that the General Comptroller take severe actions against parties acting in this manner – it is not the public’s responsibility to pay for parties’ failings and misdemeanours.

The time has come to reveal all information concerning the IDB and Nochi Dankner affairs – After the explosion of the IDB controversies, the bondholder haircuts, and debt restructurings at public expense, after the entire pyramid almost collapsed and took the entire economy with it, after a trial began regarding stock manipulation, we petitioned the court in June 2014 against the banking supervisor and the governor of the Bank of Israel in an attempt to find out why a comprehensive investigation into the affair had not begun, especially with regard to the behavior of the banks and supervising bodies that were supposed to prevent this from occurring. In the petition we demand that such an investigation take place and lead to systemic and personal conclusions taking effect. Following on from the petition, in March 2015 we demanded all information on the matter from the Bank of Israel, all relevant reports and an answer as to why an investigation of all the banks involved in the affairs has not yet been conducted.

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