Monthly Report Headlines | June 2015

Fighting the gas monopoly: The Israeli government has secretly negotiated with the gas companies while dangerously bypassing the Antitrust Commissioner. An intensive civil protest and meetings with high positioned officials have aided in stopping the political opportunism in the Knesset. Now the fight continues at all fronts to make sure that the present settlement, which is hazardous to the Israeli economy and to its democracy, will not be approved. It is time to make decisions according to public interest and not according to the interests of a few tycoons.

Thanks to MQG’s intervention – the outrageous bonus of the former Israel Postal Company CEO was cancelled: According to some sources, Sasi Shilo, the former CEO of the Israel Postal Company (IPC) was about to receive a 200% extended compensation, and 383 thousand Shekels, 60 thousand of which were defined “excellency grant”, for his three years as CEO. During these three years, the Postal Company went through a deep financial crisis. For some reason Shilo was supposed to receive this “excellency grant” even though the Postal Company, under his management, had an 85% reduction in cash flow and was seriously criticized by the State Comptroller.

A petition to the Supreme Court of Justice – Aryeh Deri is a convicted felon, therefore he must not be appointed as minister: The last time Deri was a minister he was convicted in moral turpitude and in receiving bribery. He was sentenced to jail. MQG petitioned to the Supreme Court to prevent Deri’s appointment to a minister once again, since the last time he was a minister he used his position and power to take enormous amounts of public funds into his own pocket. MQG added the public protest petition to its legal petition. Over 56 thousand Israelis signed this public petition over the last few months. Following public pressure, Deri had given up on his position as the Minister of Internal Affairs (the same position he used last time to receive bribe), but MQG keeps fighting to prevent him from being appointed to any minister position. Following the petition, it seems that the Attorney General will not allow Deri to appoint judges in the Ministry of Transportation.

A petition to the Supreme Court of Justice – Weren’t five years enough time to make decisions in the criminal investigation of the Harpaz Affair? On June 16th, MQG petitioned to the Supreme Court, demanding decisions in this investigation. The Harpaz Affair raises serious concerns about possible corruption in the highest positions of the IDF. The incredibly long time it takes to complete this investigation is unexplained.

Mevaseret Zion – How can real estate belonging to the Jewish Agency be given to a private company in order to cut spending, while the agency increases the pensions of its workers? A 250 Million Shekels barter was presented in order to sell dozens of buildings that currently serve as a community center for Ethiopian Israelis in Mevaseret Zion. It Is not clear how this land, belonging to the Jewish Agency, ended up in the hands of a private company. This private company runs the pension funds for the Jewish Agency’s workers, and is now expected to make a great profit by selling these lands. Additionally, a great concern arises, that 1300 hard working Ethiopians who made Aliyah would be evicted without proper solution. The Israel Land Authority has ignored MQG’s concerns, and MQG has petitioned to the courts to receive all information regarding the barter last November. On March 2105, following the petition, the Israel Land Authority admitted no such documents exist. On June 2015 MQG petitioned for the cancellation of this outrageous land sale. Moreover, the State Comptroller had stated that he would look into this matter himself.

MQG demands – Transparency in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation: The Ministerial Committee for Legislation determines the government’s position on various law proposals, and also decides how will the coalition members would vote. The committee has no transparency and it does not keep protocols, even though it is one of the most important committees (in fact, some call it the “real legislative authority” since its members practically decide by themselves which laws would be approved). MQG approached the members of the committee demanding them to support an upcoming law proposal by which the committee would become transparent and protocols would be kept.

MQG demanded the suspension of MK Oren Hazan, and the commencement of an investigation: On June 8th, a serious report was presented in media concerning Knesset member Oren Hazan. This report suggested that during the summer of 2013, Hazan was involved in running a casino in Bulgaria. During his work there, Hazan was assisting customers in obtaining heavy drugs and escort girls. Following this report, MQG approached the Israeli Prime Minister demanding the suspension of Hazan from all duties in the Knesset committees until this matter would be cleared. According to some sources, after he was suspended from his duty as the Knesset vice chairman by the Knesset chairman, Hazan told the chairman he would find unflattering information about him and would make it public. Following these reports MQG demanded an investigation by the Attorney General in the matter of coercion.

Why do cases concerning public officials seem to stall? In some local authorities, cases concerning public officials are awaiting a final decision for years. MQG demanded the State Attorney to speed up these decisions. MQG received an answer saying that the State Attorney has ordered the Advocacy to advance these cases and make decisions before new elections are taking place in these authorities. MQG also demanded a new procedure that would make public officials’ cases much quicker at any time. It’s the public’s right to know whether these officials has offended or not.

Areas inside schools in Beitar Illit are being rented out as stores and businesses: According to a report recently aired by channel one’s “Mabat”, areas inside schools in Beitar Illit are being used for external businesses. At the same time, students, who used to study in these schools, are currently studying in old and musty trailers that sometimes do not even have electricity. Many of these students have special needs, which makes it even more difficult for them. Other students are forced to go to schools in other cities and pay for the rides to and from the school. MQG demanded a full investigation by the State Comptroller that would comprehensively investigate this matter, but would also give special emphasis on how the supervising mechanisms have allowed this to happen. To watch full article: http://on.fb.me/1fzOisl.

Ending the absurd debt cuts (Debt restructuring): MQG filed a report to the Ministry of Finance, detailing a law proposal suggested by the Endorn committee that discussed the debt cuts. MQG claims that the law proposal in its current form neglects several important issues that require regulation in accreditation and debt management, and also in debt restructuring. MQG’s document details many sections that should be considered for revision in the law proposal, in order to truly make it effective in preventing the public from paying the debts of reckless tycoons over and over again.

Applying the Freedom of Information law on The Jewish National Fund: The Jewish National Fund (JNF) holds over 61 million acres of state lands and according to some sources its fortune is assessed at four Billion Shekels. The JNF’s tasks are building infrastructures, acquiring lands and preparing them for settlement. Moreover, it is the government’s branch in charge of developing agricultural space in the periphery. In spite of this, the Freedom of Information law does not apply to JNF. It is not possible to get any information regarding supplier contracts, protocols, employees’ benefits etc. MQG demanded the ministers of the Ministers Committee of Legislation to apply transparency on JNF once and for all, and to support the law proposal that aims at regulating these issues.

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

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