Monthly Report Headlines | April 2015

For full report (in Hebrew) visit our Hebrew website:

The Movement appealed to the Supreme Court saying that due to Aryeh Deri being a convicted criminal – He must not be appointed to a ministerial position: The last time Deri served as a minister resulted in his conviction for accepting bribery and imprisoned. The Movement is appealing to the Supreme Court to prevent Deri from being appointed to a position of power after taking advantage of his position and illicitly received large sums of money from public funds. Attached to the appeal is the Movement’s petition which was used in recent months in a wide public campaign against the appointment of Deri which is signed by over 50,000 Israelis. As a result of the public pressure created Deri withdrew his bid for the position of Minister of Interior, the same position he illegally took advantage of. The Movement however is continuing its campaign to prevent Deri from being appointed to any ministerial position whatsoever due to his criminal activity.

No to the unauthorized establishment of the natural gas monopoly: Despite the historic decision made previously by regulators to dismantle Yitzchak Tshuva’s formidable natural gas monopoly, it has been publicized in recent weeks that the Prime Minister who also serves as the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Infrastructure decided to backtrack on this decision and permit the natural gas monopoly to remain de facto intact just as the new Minister of Finance takes office. The Movement reached out to both Ministers urgently requesting them to avoid making this crucial decision without proper authorization. They are obligated to look out for the public interest and not to allow Tshuva to continue to monopolize one of the most important natural resources in Israel; additionally, The movement has called upon the Prime Minister to maintain the independent character of the Government Energy Authority which in the future will oversee distributors of natural gas and electricity.

The Movement appealed to the Supreme Court: After the land affair – Galant must not be appointed to Minister of Construction: The Movement has appealed to the Supreme Court demanding that Galant be prevented from being appointed to Minister of Construction. The appeal stated that the person who is appointed to be Minister of Construction cannot be someone who encroached upon dozens of dunams of public land, and for years refused to withdraw from them – despite being required to by the authorities, someone who presented falsified or partial facts before the authorities, someone who did not hesitate to take advantage of his prestigious position to solicit help from senior officials, someone who until this very day retains control of 35 dunams of state land which he acquired illegally, someone who was disqualified from being appointed as Chief of Staff of the IDF after the Attorney General investigated the matter. Usually, cases like these lead to indictment for planning and zoning violations (which were not filed in this case because of the authorities inability) – it’s inconceivable that Galant would be appointed to oversee the exact same field. In addition to preventing Galant’s appointment, the Movement demanded in its petition that the findings of the Attorney General’s investigation be finally made public – the public has a right to know exactly what happened in a scandal involving someone who is potentially about to be appointed to become a Minister in the government.

From executive at Bank Leumi – to Supervisor of Banks? In response to reports that Hedva Bar, a member of the management of Bank Leumi, may be appointed to Supervisor of the Banks – the Movement reached out to the relevant officials and demanded that her appointment be prevented – and to disqualify any candidate who serves or has recently served in a senior position in Israeli Banks. It’s hard not to suspect that a Supervisor of Banks who comes from a senior position at the same banks that he or she is supposed to oversee will be unable to fulfill the position loyally – and Supervisor of Banks is one of the most important positions in the country.

Distancing the Corrupt – The battle against the return of Shimon Gapso to Mayor of Nazareth Ilit: In response to the the lenient court decision allowing Shimon Gapso – despite being convicted for accepting bribery – to return to serve as Mayor of Nazareth Ilit. In response, the Movement contacted the prosecution and demanded that they appeal the punishment – someone who is charged with accepting bribery and corruption, must be must be distanced from the position of mayor and must be disqualified from public office. Additionally, we requested from the Attorney General that Gapso’s suspension be extended while he still faces additional charges; additionally, within days of his return to office, Gapso fired Eran Bar-Ami, the city chairman, and one of the bold anti-corruption whistle blower. As a result, the movement appealed to the court and succeeded in having the layoffs reversed.

Amidar spends a quarter of a million Shekels on renovating vacation homes for Workers’ Comittee: According to investigations published in the media, while 90% of Amidar apartments – apartments which are occupied generally by hard-working citizens – are severely defective (defects which Amidar often complains about not having enough money to repair), it seems Amidar has in fact found the money in order to renovate to the tune of more than a quarter million ₪ luxurious vacation homes on Lake Kinneret for the benefit of members of the Workers Committee. In addition, according to the published investigations, the funding for the renovation was inflated from approximately ninety thousand ₪ to more than a quarter of a million, all this being done without proper approval of the budget in accordance with proper administrative procedure. The Movement appealed to the State Comptroller demanding investigation into the affair – these are public funds and Amidar has an obligation to to comply with proper public administrative procedure and not to waste public funds on unnecessary spending – especially when residents of public housing lack so many real basic needs.

Advertising expenses of the Israel Electric Corporation: Following a request from the Movement the Electric Corporation’s advertising expenses have been exposed. According to the information that has been made available, in 2014 the IEC spent ₪ 26 million on advertising – and while the advertising budget for child safety, was cut by 90% – the advertising budget for improving the company’s public image was multiplied by 40. All this at a time when the company is tens of billions of shekels in debt – which the public will have to pay through their energy bills, all the while it is entirely unclear why the IEC needs to spend any money on promoting its image since it faces no competition. As a follow-up to the movement’s activities which led to the exposure of this information the Movement contacted the State Comptroller and the Director of the Government Companies Authority, demanding them to intervene in this case – the Electric Company can’t be allowed to waste public funds as it sees fit. Also at this time, the Movement is continuing to assist the whistleblowing employee from the IEC who was fired after revealing flaws in the systems acquired by the company from Siemens – the same company already involved in a corruption affair and has already admitted it paid bribes of $ 20 million which led to the arrest of senior electricity company officials. Following the Movement’s intervention, the company’s internal supervisor informed us that he will examine the claims of whistleblower – as well as the issue of dismissal.

Following the Movement’s petition – Court requires the state to publish the number of yeshiva students who were recruited: The first achievement for the movement’s petition against the new Draft Law – the law which, instead of ending the ongoing injustice, discriminates between the citizens of Israel, maintains the injustice. The Supreme Court accepted the demand of the Movement and has required the State to publish the complete records of the number of yeshiva students who were recruited – in order to allow both the court as well as the public to judge the new law. The discussions around the petition continue and the Movement’s position is that a law that will only mitigate discrimination is unacceptable – it should be wholly eliminated once and for all.

Pollution in the Haifa Bay Area: Following data released by the Ministry of Health, according to which 50% of cancer cases in children in the Haifa area were caused by the heavy air pollution in the area and other data on the high incidence in the region, the movement appealed to the State Comptroller, demanding that he examine the matter, especially the following questions: The data released refers to the period between 1997 and 2008 – why are they only now are they being released? How can it be that there hasn’t been continued testing during subsequent years? How can it be that when the situation is so severe, that the Ministry of Health decides to backtrack on its intention to designate the Haifa area as an area in Haifa containing air pollution? The Movement has demanded that the authorities treat the matter with requisite seriousness.