Notable Achievements through the Years
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG) has become a major public petitioner, prominent in its determination and perseverance to conduct various legal proceedings before the Supreme Court and other courts. The hundreds of petitions filed by MQG have led to significant changes in administrative and constitutional law, along with establishing crucial norms in the rule of law and proper governance. Today, MQG plays a significant role which impacts the conduct of various authorities and deters them from improper activity.
The law to reduce market concentration (monopolistic practices) and promote competition: Several years ago, MQG launched a campaign against market concentration, which is suffocating the Israeli economy. Our campaign was among the main factors in raising public awareness on this matter. From the beginning of the campaign there were those who denied the existence of concentration in the Israeli economy. Nevertheless, MQG called for the establishment of a professional committee to confront the problem of concentration and closely monitored and participated in all discussions held by the Finance Committee, where the bill was originally drafted. MQG’s activity greatly contributed to both the passing of the bill in late 2013 and to its final reading. This is a monumental achievement expected to have vast implications on Israeli society, democracy and the country’s economy. Even after passing the bill, MQG continues to monitor the implementation of the law to prevent any possible legal loopholes.
Transparency in coalition agreements: Following the first petition in the history of MQG (1990), all coalition agreements, including arrangements relating the government budget, are to be brought before the public prior to the Knesset approving the composition of the government.
Mayors accused of criminal activity: Our petition to the Supreme Court in 2013 led to legislation establishing a suspension mechanism for mayors facing criminal charges. Consequently, mayors faced with criminal charges were suspended, including Shlomi Lachyani of Bat Yam and Simon Gapso of Nazareth Illit, whereas the Mayor of Ramat Hasharon, Isaac Rochberger, decided to suspend himself. This legislation joins the unprecedented ruling of a MQG petition, whereby a minister who has been indicted is to be removed from office.
Israel Investment Center (ICC): An important achievement was recorded in February 2014 when the Supreme Court gave a legally binding status to agreements made between MQG and the ICC. MQG’s petition referred to the 2.5 billion NIS distributed by ICC to various companies, while these did not meet their commitments. This petition had a number of important achievements: Since the filing of the petition, the number of companies exempt from repaying grants dropped from 133 companies in previous years to a single company last year. In addition, the petition lead to enforcing standards of transparency on the conduct of the Investment Center, meaning that all clarifications of its activity and meeting protocols are to be published online.
The Salt lands: Following 11 years of discussions on a petition filed by MQG, a verdict was reached in March 2014 which cancels the outrageous agreement between the salt companies and the Israel Lands Administration, which granted companies owned by the Dankner family great benefits on state lands. The extent of land included in the agreement was approximately 2,000 acres, which was initially used for manufacturing salt. As a part of the agreement the zoning was changed to urban land, greatly benefitting the companies as the deal severely damaged the principle of equality and distributive justice, and was in itself contrary to the decisions of the administration.
Equality in mandatory conscription: Following more than ten years of discussions, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the petition filed by MQG, and in 2012 nullified the Tal Law. This law discriminated between the different sectors of Israeli society and was disproportionately unequal. MQG continues its legal activity in order to ensure equal enforcement of the mandatory conscription act on all citizens.
Applying disciplinary and appointment regulations on workers in religious councils: For the past 40 years, employees of religious councils have not been subjected to the disciplinary laws which pertain to civil servants. As a result of an MQG petition, these regulations have since been applied and an additional procedure for properly appointing civil servants has been set.
Canceling the pension benefit increase for the 14th Knesset: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the petition filed by MQG and overruled the decision of the House Committee of the Knesset regarding pension benefits for members of the 14th Knesset. These Knesset members served for only three years yet asked for their pension benefits to be calculated as if they had completed the full term of four years. As a result of this petition the state saved roughly 10 million NIS.
Relationships of Crony Capitalism: In November 2004, the state approved a tender won by “The Israel Corporation”, controlled by The Ofer family, on building a power and electricity plant. The tender was approved despite a technicality error, resulting in a surplus of 130 million NIS of public money that was to be transferred to the the Israel Corporation. MQG petitioned for the tender to be revoked or the error be amended, since no private entity is allowed to receive any financial benefit originating in public funds without proper justification. MQG decided to withdraw its petition after the State announced to the Supreme Court that it would amend the error and the surplus would not be transferred to the Israel Corporation.
Political appointments according to merit and not patronage: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a petition filed by MQG which called for defining boundaries between political and professional considerations for appointing a CEO of a government office. The petition followed an attempt to appoint a candidate who did not meet the professional requirements for the position, but did have a clear political affiliation with an incumbent minister.
Whistleblower protection in the public sector: A precedent-setting ruling of the National Labor Court instructing authorities to reinstate the employment of a whistleblower, before being subjected to harassments occurring as a result of his willingness to speak out against corruption.