Following a News Report of the Incident, the Minister of Agriculture Is Asked to Explain and Pay for a Drone He Granted as a gift to the Russian Prime Minister during his visit in Israel.
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel Called on of the Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, to Personally Cover the 200,000 NIS Expense of the Drone Gifted to the Russian Prime Minister.
A recent report revealed that during a joint visit to the Volcani Agricultural Research Center by the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, the latter gave the former a sophisticated thermal drone intended for agricultural research worth an estimated 200,000 NIS.
According to reports, the drone was specially developed by the Volcani Agricultural Research Center in orderto detect under and over irrigated areas. Such technology could substantially reduce water use and improve crop quality.
The cost of the drone itself is estimated at 200,000 NIS, but giving it away comes at a higher cost since it has interrupted various studies and research already underway, and transferring the single drone to another party presumably entails that they would be the ones to benefit from the unique technology. Provided the reports being true, there has been a breech of proper conduct that carries serious consequences, both in terms of research and in terms of financial and administrative responsibility.
Consequently, the Movement for Quality Government turned to the Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, requesting clarification on the response of the Ministry of Agriculture that the gift was in accordance with regulations and procedures. In particular, the Movement sought clarification on the validity of the decision and asked for the minister’s rationale behind the gift and the financial or strategic considerations he had for giving it.
Moreover, the Movement believes that elected officials must bear responsibility and face the consequences of their actions. Unwarranted and reckless decision-making and gift giving is not valid in proper government and runs contrary to the fiduciary duty of an elected official to the public he and she were elected to serve.
The drone, like any other public asset, is not the private property of the elected official and he or she cannot do with it as they will. If a decision with serious financial and other damage was carried out incorrectly or irresponsibly, the Minister of Agriculture ought to personally bear its cost.