Monthly Report Headlines | July 2015

The Battle Against the Gas Monopoly: MQG called upon the Ministry of Justice to expedite the examination of the Minister of Finance’s abstinence from handling matters relating to the natural gas market. It is the Movement’s opinion that the examination should be completed swiftly, given that the process of organizing the gas market and options to dismantle the gas monopoly are approaching its final stages, in which the Minister’s involvement could have a decisive influence, in accordance with his pledges to the public on the eve of the election to dismantle the gas monopoly. Consequently, MQG, along with several other organizations and MKs, petitioned to the Supreme Court, demanding an explanation as to why the time period set by the government for submitting its position on public interests in the gas market has not been lengthened, and moreover, why has it not been decided that the period for the public’s response should only begin when the full range of relevant information and documents have been published for the public’s consideration. Additionally, the Movement addressed the Electric Authority and the Antitrust Authority to publish its gagging order clause, which, according to an investigation by ‘The Marker’, denotes that major gas consumers (i.e. Israel’s Electric Company) must refrain from acting to promote regulation of gas prices.

Parting Event for Police Commissioner: Following reports of large expenses for a retirement event held for outgoing Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino, MQG requested details of the event’s costs from Israeli Police and the Ministry of Internal Security. Among the details requested by the Movement are the costs and resources used to fund the event, the duration of meetings in which decisions relating to the event’s organization and the ban on journalist attendance were held.

Adopting the Conclusions of the Locker Report: The Locker report referred to the required level of transparency in the security budget and noted, among other things, the severe irregularity in the organization of the security budget and execution that rests on a rebate through which the Defense Ministry will receive a budgetary increase during the year. MQG addressed the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Finance with a call to adopt theLocker Inquiry’s conclusions concerning the accountability of the Ministry of Defense and the IDF to the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Finance and the National Security Council.

Committee for Increasing Competition in Frequently used Banking and Financial Services: In the position paper submitted by MQG to the Council for Strengthening Competition in Banking and Financial Services, the Movement offers solutions to the basic failings at the heart of the current financial order, which encourages the serious issues prevalent in the function of the banking system in Israel and its regulation. Among the suggestions are: the separation of bank ownership in credit card companies; encouraging the entrance of co-operative and internet banks into the market and promoting use of the postal bank and the retail authority.

The Gal Beck case: Following an investigation by Ayala Chason and Yifat Glick on ‘Chanel 1’ concerning the actions of the police and state prosecutors in the Gal Beck case, MQG addressed Judge (emerita) Hila Gerstl, Litigation Audit Commissioner, calling upon her to examine the findings of the investigation, which suggest that the case was shut within only a few weeks and without the investigation being thoroughly completed. This request serves to ascertain whether there is some truth in what was broadcast regarding the prosecution’s behavior, or conversely, whether there were no faults in its handling of the case.

Request for the Police Investigation Unit to Review the Claims of former Ramla Municipal Comptroller: MQG requested that the Police Investigation Unit re-examine the claims raised by former Ramla Municipal Comptroller, Mr. Shimon Zissin, against Ramla Mayor Yoel Lavi and the behavior of the executive and investigative services to determine whether there was error in the decision to close the investigation against the mayor. This comes in the wake of the unveiling of the corruption case involving Adv. Ronel Fisher and the discovery of new information according to which Fisher was employed by Ramla Town Hall in the same period in which the decision was taken to close the investigation against the mayor.

Setting MKs’ Salaries: In the run-up to the discussion at the Ministers’ Committee on Legal Matters on the subject of the proposed bill for MK salaries to be set by a public body, MQG appealed to all ministers on the council to support MK Yael German’s proposal to grant the Public Council for the Setting of MK Salaries the authority to make decisions on matters of salary and other payments independently and finally, without the need for approval by the Knesset Committee.

Correcting Illegal Signposting in Ramat HaSharon: Following the Movement’s court petition Ramat HaSharon Municipality committed to requesting legal authorization for future licenses for sign posting. This comes after the Municipality granted several sign-posting licenses at a number of points along the Ayalon route (in the area of the Gelilot Interchange and the Kfar Hayarok), despite having no authority to issue them.

The Honey Council: MQG addressed the Honey Council – the public body that regulates hive-owners and honey manufacturers, with a call to look into possible improper conduct by the council’s board of directors and its influence on the honey market in Israel. This request follows an investigation by the Movement that revealed the council has been acting with conflicting interests that have been hidden from the public and government as well as all matters concerning the nature of its board of directors and the occupations of its representatives.

Suspected Misconduct Management at the Electrical Corporation: MQG addressed the General Comptroller with a request for Moran Ginoser’s claims regarding alleged misconduct at the Electrical Company to be investigated. This request follows another already made by the Movement in April of this year. The Movement’s request details the chain of events leading to Ginoser’s dismissal from the EC, according to which Ginoser uncovered misconduct surrounding the acquisition of a DMS system for use at the Electrical Company. Despite the severity and public importance of this case, and the Movement’s earlier appeal, the General Comptroller has not voiced his opinion on the matter. Accordingly, the Movement calls upon the General Comptroller to embark on a comprehensive investigation to review Ginoser’s claims, especially the decision-making process surrounding the purchase of the DMS system, the company’s failure to meet targets set for the system’s use and report malfunctions that have come to light since.

Regulating the Behaviour of Lobbyists in the Knesset: MQG approached Knesset Speaker MK Yoel Edelstein with a request to investigate the work of the committee for lobby activity in the Knesset and, moreover, to establish who its members are, whether MKs are aware of its existence and know what they are to do when a lobbyist is in violation of the law. The Movement considers regulating the proper behaviour of lobbyists in the Knesset to be paramount, particularly the so-called ‘Black Lobby’, the activities of which are not in line with Knesset law.

A Call to Examine Due Process in Appointments at the Israel Land Authority: MQG approached the Attorney General, acting Chairmain of the Israel Land Authority and the Authority’s legal advisor following Nimrod Busson article in ‘The Marker’. The article raises the fact that Ms. Lior Tushinski, once Vice-Chairman of the Authority, was involved in drawing up and altering the main terms and conditions for the position in order for them to be ‘tailored’ for her.

Suspected Conflict of Interests in the Appointment of Nir Hefetz as Prime Minister’s Communications Advisor: MQG approached the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice with a call for comprehensive supervision and regulation of the matter of external advisors to public representative and additionally, to address the conflict of interests apparent in the employment of Nir Hefetz, the Prime Minister’s aide, owing to his other positions as a consultant to private firms.

MQG’s Response to Motti Yogev’s Remarks: “The Movement is disappointed that a member of Israel’s legislative body has chosen to brazenly attack the Supreme Court. Even political differences of opinion do not justify such statements as ‘destroying the Supreme Court with a D-9’, which may be construed as an incitement to violence against one of the pillars of Israeli democracy, especially when they are made by a lawmaker.’

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

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