April 2021

April 2021 Activity Summary Report

A huge victory – The Supreme Court accepted our request and blocked the intended unlawful appointment of Minister Akunis to the post of Minister of Justice!

The Supreme Court of Justice blocked the Prime Minister’s shameless attempt to destroy the Rule of Law in Israel. For over a year now we have been alerting to this bad law and its implications and to the fact that the State of Israel became a hostage in the hands of a criminal defendant. Acting rightly as protector of democracy and the rule of law, the Supreme Court blocked the snatch temporarily. Such a blatant breaking of the game rules should not be accepted by any means. We were satisfied to realize that the Court blocked the government’s illegal move of attempting to vote for appointing a minister against the provisions of Basic Law: The Government. Subsequently, Netanyahu waived the appointment.  

Demanding to investigate the ministers who confirmed Mount Meiron event and not just the Shin-Gimel (the one who secures the entrance)!

Following Mount Meiron disaster we requested from Attorney General Mandelblitt to start an investigation against different Government members in suspicion of causing death out of recklessness or at least by negligence, or injuring by negligence. Among those who should be investigated due to their administrative acts regarding planning the event and confirming its complete opening are PM Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri, Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana and Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein. According to publications, the ministers of Internal Security and of Interior worked for opening the festivity without any restrictions – against the directions of proper administration and in contrast to professional factors who warned them about the high risk potential in opening the event comprehensively and without restricting the number of participants. This is a severe and painful national disaster that should be investigated and examined on every possible aspect, including this of the Government members who exceeded their authority and committed administrative acts counter to professional factors’ opinions and without having their irregular decisions approved lawfully. We regard the Minister of Internal Security’s acts as causing death out of recklessness and those of the rest Government members as causing death by negligence, therefore an investigation is inevitable. We demand to investigate not only the guard at the entrance point but all of the persons who initiated the full and irresponsible opening of the festivity against professional views, against the law and out of narrow political considerations.

Already before the escalation: We had started a transverse project of inspecting the method of issuing permissions for using shelters in local authorities

Following the knowledge that in many local authorities across the country public shelters were handed over to different factors that used them against relevant regulations, we required information concerning approvals given forsuch usage.

Did the Mossad director Yossi Cohen meet with Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked about a week prior to the elections?

Following a media report that about a week before the elections day Yamina party’s KM Ayelet Shaked met with Director of the Mossad Yossi Cohen, we demanded from the latter to clarify whether this was true and if indeed it was – what was the reason for the meeting and whether he had met also with other politicians. We made it clear that we regard such conduct as a severe conflict of interest case.

We contacted the Government offices concerning a gas deal with Abu Dabi that raises security question marks: “Foreign entities might have interests that are inconsistent with the State’s interest”

We contacted many Government officials concerning purchasing of rights in Tamar gas reservoir by Abu Dabi’s government investment company Mubadala Petroleum. Among others, we contacted the Ministries of Strategic Affairs, Economy and Industry, Defense, Energy, and Justice, and the Ministerial Committee on National Security, the General Security Agency (Shabak), the Attorney General and the PM’s office. Our request was to make sure that there had been thorough checking of all the strategic and security interests and considerations involved in the acquisition of holdings in the gas reservoir, and that this checking had been applied in collaboration with every relevant factor and according to the State Comptroller’s report on the subject. Foreign entities might have interests that are not in concert with those of the State and even worse – they might abuse their access to infrastructure.

The Purity of Morals bill: defendants must remain out of politics

 The bill we drafted aimed at removing corruption from government systems. According to our proposal, anyone indicted for corruption and for impurity of morals offenses will be barred from serving in public offices, be it as a prime minister (full or interchangeable), a president, a minister or a deputy minister. About 20,000 citizens signed support of the bill, as did a number of Knesset Members. Many citizens and KMs signed the support petition during the Balfur demonstration.

We demand a civil lawsuit against Faina Kirschenbaum! The Public should not finance the government corruption.  Whoever steals and commits crimes must pay for it!

We demanded from acting State Attorney Adv. Amit Isman to submit a civil lawsuit against Faina Kirschenbaum, a former deputy minister, who was convicted of bribery offenses in the Israel Beytenu Affair. Tel Aviv district court determined that Kirschenbaum swiped into her pocket ILS 2 million bribe – as simple as that. The civil tort claim is an essential enforcement means and complementary to the criminal lawsuit. Using this means may serve in deterring future bribe criminals and as a positive economic incentive in the prevention of bribery. An unequivocal message must be conveyed to elected officials: If you have taken money unlawfully and harmed the public interest, the government’s quality and the purity of morals – you will pay for it all!

Who leaked sensitive security information and by this endangered the lives of security forces personnel? We demand a criminal investigation and a Shabak investigation too!

Who leaked sensitive security information about a covert action of security forces in hostile countries? During the recent weeks deferent media in Israel and abroad reported that a factor in the defense system leaked sensitive and classified information in several cases of the security forces covert actions in hostile countries. It was further claimed, that this security leak was done in real time, while the fighters were still on enemy’s land, exposed to dangers and to an immediate threat to their lives resulting from this leak! Do you get how crazy this is?! Not only that the leak harms Israel’s security interests – it endangers people’s lives directly and actually! We demanded from the General Security Agency (Shabak)’s Director and from the General Attorney to start an investigation of these security leaks. Earlier, we demanded from the Police Inspector General to open a criminal investigation of the subject. However, if the new reports were correct and the leaks took place during the operational activity and even before it started, then the severity of the affair only grows and demands Shabak’s investigation. We must not tolerate the very possibility of somebody within the Israeli security system leaking highly covert and sensitive information and so very probably endangering people’s lives. To clarify this affair we call for a comprehensive and profound investigation as soon as possible!

The alleged bribe deal in Beytar Illit is recorded from beginning to end. If so, then why are the Police dragging feet with the investigation?

We demanded from the Police to accelerate the pace of investigating the alleged bribe affair in Beytar Illit Municipality as was exposed in Ha’aretz by journalist Aharon Rabinowitz. According to his debriefing, a short time before the 2018 elections for local authorities, Beytar Illit’s Mayor Meir Rubinstein together with Mosheh Parush (son of Meir Parush, Deputy Minister of Education on behalf of Shlumei Emunim faction of Yahadut Hatora party) initiated a bribing deal. The deal was designated to have Eliezer Lazar, one of two Haredi candidates for mayoralty of Tsfat municipality, removing his candidacy in return to a payment of ILS 800,000 of public money. This way Shlumei Emunim faction would have gained control of the town after the elections. To the Public’s great luck this deal failed due to Lazar’s refusal to retire from the run to mayoralty. Eventually, Likud‘s secular candidate was elected Mayor, however it is known that a bribery deal that ends up with only a proposal is considered a criminal offense just as giving or receiving bribe are. If so, how come the Police continue dragging feet and fail to act in spite of the actual and clear golden evidence it holds: the bribe deal recordings that were presented in the debriefing?

As each year, we will grant Knights of Government Quality awards. Here is the list of laureates for 2020:

Legislature Authority category: Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh,former Knesset Member; Executive Authority category: Adv. Dina Zilber, former Deputy Attorney General; Judiciary Authority category: Ayala Procaccia, former Supreme Court Judge; Social Struggle category: Or-Ly Barlev, independent journalist and an activist; Media Category: Aviad Glickman, Channel 13 legal affairs reporter; Culture Category: Muli Segev and Eretz Nehederet TV show; Local Authority Category: Aliza Bloch, Mayor of Beit Shemesh Municipality; Army and Security Category: Major General (res.) Amos Gil’ad, former Director of Defense-Political Branch in the Ministry of Defense; Academic Category: Prof. Yaniv Roznai, expert in constitutional law; Whistleblowers category: Mr. Freddy Tohar and Mr. Maxim Derkach, whistleblowers.

More from the Movement’s desk for this month:

The PM’s office refuses to answer the following question: Under what authority do Yair and Avner Netanyahu are granted a hundreds of thousands Shekels worth upgrade of their attached vehicles? Due to this refusal we petitioned the Court. * We responded to the rejection of our petition for declaring Netanyahu’s incapacity to maintain his office as PM: The Government’s Attorney General and the Supreme Court showed him a yellow card – “You cannot abandon the State’s administering anymore and you can no longer attack irresponsibly the law enforcement authorities and yet not anticipate consequences”. We respect the honorable Court’s decision and hope that the Prime Minister will cease his attempts to destruct the judicial and law enforcement systems in Israel. The Court also demanded from the State to respond to our petition and to justify its (the State’s) conduct. * We petitioned the Court: Why has the cost of the PM’s new residence more than doubled the anticipated cost and how much more money will be lost? Where is the money? Where are 1.36 billion Shekels?? * We responded to the President’s decision of granting Netanyahu the mandate of assembling a government: This is a disgrace to democracy! Though the President expressed that he would consider moral values in the issue of granting the mandate (for this announcement we praised him), he eventually chose a person charged with crimes. In our view, resigning is better than making such a decision. * Probably due to political considerations, factors in the Knesset refused to establish the Organizing Committee (this way paralyzing the Legislature Authority’s activity and actually sabotaging the Public Interest). We demanded that the Organizing Committee and the rest of the committees will be established promptly, or else we will petition the Court. Following this latter message the committees were indeed established. * We continued executing demonstrations and protests and participating in the weekly Balfur demonstrations. We also initiated a special protest convoy to the President’s residence in Jerusalem, calling him not to grant a person charged with crimes the mandate of assembling a government. * We explained to Netanyahu that it was not in his authority to extend the Shabak Director’s term on his (Netanyahu’s) own initiative: such a decision must get the Government’s affirmation. Later on, the Government indeed confirmed the extension. We also demanded from Netanyahu and from Gantz to refrain from political and irrelevant considerations regarding appointments for top offices at the security system. Another demand from the two was to supply information about appointments or extensions of the offices of Shabak Director and of IDF Chief of the General Staff (who has been serving now for two years and a half, but no notice has been released yet as for extending his term to four years). * We contacted the Ministry of Finance in order to understand whatever happened to the Israeli Citizens’ Fund (“Keren Ha-osher”= Wealth Fund) established to contain the gas production profits for the sake of the citizens. According to the original forecast, until 2020 the fund should have held ILS 14 billion while in reality there is less than half a billion. We demanded from the Ministry of Finance an explanation concerning the updated forecast for the Public’s profit and the position of the money in general.