Frequently asked questions
1. Why is the Movement for Quality Government even needed?
A: The reality in our country annoys us all, but we can’t simply moan and groan, or complain during Friday gatherings, or share comments on Facebook, or just give up. Even though we sometimes feel like the little Dutch boy who tries to plug the hole in the dam with his finger— if we do not fight corruption with determination, cleverness, persistence, and force, it will grow and spread everywhere.
The issue of the quality of a government is a cardinal one. A corrupt state has no right to exist—morally or practically. People do not want to live in a corrupt country, and over time it cannot survive. The number of members in a movement directly influences the amount of pressure it can apply. International researches have shown that in countries where the citizenry is more civically active, the level of corruption is substantially reduced. The larger our membership, the more extensive will be the impact we will be able to have upon the relevant decision- makers.
2. Who are the leaders in the Movement for Quality Government?
A: The leaders in the Movement for Quality Government are:
Chairman of the Movement: Adv. Eliad Shraga (Volunteer, without salary)
Vice Chairman of the Movement: Adv. Michael Partem (Volunteer, without salary)
CEO: Eli Sulam
Legal Advisor of the Movement for Quality Government: Adv. Tzruya Meidad Luzon
Assistant CEO for Organization and Citizen Activities: Emek Bracha
Division of Economics and Research: Adv. Nili Even Hen
Movement Spokesperson: Ruth Margolin
Departments of MQG:
Economic and Research department
Policy and Legislation department
Organization and membership department
Spokesperson and Public Relations department
3. How is the Movement for Quality Government structured? How are the leaders of the Movement chosen?
A: The Movement for Quality Government is a civil organization and is apolitical.
The movement is a non-profit organization (NPO) and operates in accordance with the Israeli law regulating NPO’s. Each year the Movement receives approval from the Registrar of NPO’s, an office in the Ministry of Justice.
The members of the Movement are invited once a year to a General Meeting, where the financial report of the Movement is approved, and proposed changes to the Movement’s constitution are discussed. The members of the Movement are invited once every three years to an Election Meeting – which elects the Board of Directors of the Movement (a 15-member body which convenes monthly).
From among the members of the Board of Directors the Executive Management of the Movement is elected. The Executive Management meets once every two weeks and makes operational decisions.
The Board of Directors elects the Chairman of the Movement. The current Chairman is Adv. Eliad Shraga.
Any member of the Movement can be elected to the Board of Directors, provided he has been a member for at least one full year.
Any member of the Movement who has paid his annual dues can participate in the General Meeting
Anyone who has been a member for at least 45 days before the triennial Election Meeting can participate and vote.
4. How many members are there in the Movement?
A: Over the lifetime of the Movement we have had about 35,000 different members. For the year 2014, we had 14,000 paying members.
The Movement’s long-term goal is to have its budget covered totally by the membership dues —without being dependent on outside funds or donations. (Currently, membership dues cover 40% of the budget.)
5. Who oversees the movement’s operations?
A: The movement has an internal ombudsman and an Auditing Committee; both are elected by the General Meeting of the members.
The requirements the Registrar of NPO’s obligate us to publish transparent budget reports audited by an external accountant. In addition the Registrar carries out periodic auditing of the Movement’s books.
The Movement prohibits itself from accepting government funding. The movement does not want to accept money or money equivalents, from any source that is connected directly or indirectly to the public purse, or from any state-budgeted organization.
The Movement is committed to being cautious and not accepting contributions from wealthy sources with extraneous agendas which may place the movement in a position of conflict of interest.
The Movement’s annual financial report is prepared strictly in accordance with the regulations and requirements provided by the Registrar of Non Profit Organizations (within the Israeli Ministry of Justice). The report lists the Movement’s top paid employees and their salaries. The report can be found on the movement’s website. (It can also be sent by mail.)
It should be noted that in the reports published in the media from time to time listing the salaries paid by various NPO’s from highest to lowest, the Movement for Quality Government always appears at the bottom of the list.
6. What are the sources of funding for the Movement?
A: The movement is funded by contributions from various trusts, contributions from private individuals, and members’ dues. The movement refuses to accept any kind of governmental financial assistance.
The movement is an NPO and operates in accordance with the requirements of law of the Israeli Registrar of NPO’s. This law requires that the budget be transparent and published, and that auditing be done by an external accountant. The movement has an Internal Ombudsman and an Auditing Committee, both of whom are elected by the General Meeting of the membership.
The annual report is transparent and freely available to the public.
7. How many people are on the Movement’s payroll?
A: During 2014 the Movement paid 22 salaries: The CEO, Lawyers in the Legal Department, Spokeswoman, 4 employees in the Organization and Membership Department, an Accountant and the Resource Development Manager.
In addition about 25 students were salaried on an hourly basis, each working about 20 hours a month, in the following areas: member recruitment, law students and economics students doing research, etc…
8. How does the Movement decide which issues to address?
A: The movement focuses on issues of corruption in government. Such issues come up in the reports of the various ombudsmen on the national as well as the local levels; in the media; via direct approaches received by our public inquiries hotline, and through our Facebook page.
The Movement’s staff conducts a preliminary examination of the information brought to its attention, while complex issues are referred to the Executive Committee at its monthly meetings. (If the issue is urgent, it may be raised via a telephone poll of the members of the Executive Committee). If an intervention appears necessary, options—both public and legal— are evaluated.
9. For what are the membership dues used?
A: The more financial resources the Movement has, the more issues it can address at any given time. The Movement’s membership is its most important asset. The number of members determines the size of the public in whose name we operate. The larger the size of the Movement, the more active it can be, and the more it will we be able to achieve.
About the money— first, the legal work itself is associated with various court fees. Each petition to the Court of Administrative Affairs costs NIS 1,940; a petition to the High Court of Justice costs NIS 1,786; an appeal to the labor court costs NIS143; and each request for information under the Law for Freedom of Information costs NIS 98.
In addition funds are needed for the salaries of the small number of employees who comprise the “Inner Core” and who initiate, investigate, organize, and maintain the continuity and momentum of the large number of activities conducted by the movement. These jobs require professional knowledge in the field of law, economics, and accounting. The activities of the movement also require the operation of an office.
It is important to understand that the legal petitions by the Movement and the civil battles it wages are complex and lengthy processes. It is not realistic to expect volunteers to carry them out, and it is essential for us to involve experienced professionals who will oversee the appeals and the struggles throughout a protracted time-course.
10. What do I get as a member in the movement?
A: First and foremost, membership in the Movement gives you the opportunity to take a concrete and personal ideological stand against corruption in government and in favor of a democratic Israel.
As a member you also receive continuous updates on the activities and battles of the movement, and a membership card that enables you to elect or be elected to the Movement’s various governing bodies.
Additional side-benefits include discounts to various cultural venues: The Jerusalem Science Museum, Beit Lessin, The Tel Aviv Art Museum, The Haifa Theater, and more…
11. Why doesn’t the Movement participate in the elections for the Knesset or the local authorities to enhance its influence?
A: From time to time since the Movement’s establishment in 1990, proposals have been raised that we join an existing political force or run for the Knesset on our own. The Movement consistently rejects such initiatives as it wishes to position itself outside the political game and not be exposed to the forces that corrupt the political system. We have chosen to remain outside the Knesset as a citizens’ organization that faithfully represents those in society who seek to ensure the proper conduct of governing systems.
12. Do you join struggles associated with other causes such as environmental protection or civil rights? Does the Movement cooperate with other organizations on such matters?
A: The Movement for Quality Government tends to focus on issues such as the quality of governance, the struggle against corruption, and the proper management of public funds. Since addressing these issues is a sizeable and substantial task, the movement chooses to specialize and focus on them, and not take on additional issues currently addressed by other organizations doing outstanding work.
In certain, specific battles, the Movement joins forces with other organizations. Together with “Adam, Teva, V’Din” we appealed to the High Court of Justice on the matter of natural gas exports; along with “Hamishmar Hahevrati” we petioned the Knesset on the matter of transparency in publishing the State Budget; and with “Uroo” we organized panels on the issue of market concentration. We are working in collaboration with the Hebrew University Student Organization and The Society for the Protection of Nature on the issue of the botched job done by The Israel Land Authority in managing the public lands. We promoted a competition for civil activism among university students. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel joined our petition on the matter of the excessive charges being demanded by the Tel Aviv Municipality for permits for demonstrations.
13. What is the Movement doing to educate future generations regarding the importance of quality government?
A: A number of years ago, a subsidiary movement was formed called The College for Quality Government. It is focused on providing workshops in the field of public ethics for civil servants; on the development of curricula for youth emphasizing the importance of citizen oversight upon government systems; and on other educational topics.