A dramatic decision has been made this week at the Knesset plenum, affirming to pass all authorities concerning Ottoman Associations and Societies (Agudot Ottmaniot) to the Ministry of Justice, from whence they will be handed over to the Associations Register (Rasham Ha’amutot)!
The Ottoman Associations indeed – those very bodies that have been supported by the State as following an ancient law dating from the beginning of the previous century when the Ottoman Empire ruled the country; the bodies whose financial reports and general conduct have never been transparent for the public to inspect in any possible way.
These are not forsaken, insignificant niche organizations that we are discussing, but some of the richest and most powerful ones in Israel, like the health insurance companies, the Teachers Union, the National Labor Federation, and many more. These bodies are obliged to report… nothing, in fact. In actuality there is a vast and friendly passage for money laundering, bribe, officials abusing their power, public money steal (exactly as happened in Hirschson’s National Labor Federation affair, that could be generated due to – in addition to other reasons – total absence of transparency of the financial conduct. Guess what? There still isn’t any).
The Movement for Quality Government has been dealing with this issue for many years now – since 2009 – during which we have gradually understood that there had been absolutely no supervision of the Ottoman Associations. We have been repeatedly contacting the Ministries of Justice and Interior until yesterday, to our great joy, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked responded at last and initiated the acceptance of a decision to grant the Associations Register the authorities concerning Ottoman Associations.
There is still a long way to reach the time when Ottoman Associations will be subjected to the same obligations as do other associations in Israel but, as the saying goes, even the longest journey starts with just one small step.
We intend to make sure that the Associations Register will indeed implement genuine supervision. At any rate, we will continue our struggle to make the Ottoman Associations irrelevant, just as the Ottoman Empire had become.