December 2018

December 2018 Activity Summary Report

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A significant achievement in fighting the cost of living: the Antitrust Law Reform has been confirmed

Following our efforts directed to Knesset Members, efforts that included insistence, discussions and persuasions – the Antitrust Law Reform voting had been completed. Comprising nearly all of the corrections and remarks we fought for against a group of powerful lobbyists, we have succeeded in providing the Public with a reform beneficial to the Public Interest. This reform will bring about greater enforcement used by the authority against monopolies, will produce more administrative fines, will enable wider operating space in confronting the tycoons’ concentrated groups, and will offer more tools to enable, at last, a serious fight against the cost of living. After a long time, this law grew teeth: fines of up to ILS 100 million to whoever violates the law, aggravation of the imprisonment sentence for initiating cartels to 5 years, and more.

A significant achievement: thanks to our struggle the Banking Supervision’s secret report has been published

First time ever, this month the Banking Supervision published finds out of its inspection reports which until now – for no apparent reason – were related to with utmost secrecy, as if it were a matter of State’s security and not the Israeli citizens’ money. Within the Fishman Committee’s discussions (of the banks’ conduct regarding the tycoons) we demanded – together with a number of KMs – the Banking Supervision to enhance its transparency. It seems that our efforts at last start to bear fruit as the Supervision has announced a new era of more transparency. First relevant step was publishing the finds of the Supervision’s inspection of the banks’ “proactive marketing” processes, those messages and calls the Public receives from the banks with regard to the proposals of various loans which are not always needed.

Following our petition: Netanyahu has commenced giving up part of his Ministerial offices

Recently Netanyahu has been functioning simultaneously as Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Health, and – to top it all – Deputy Minister of Immigration and Absorption. After our appeals concerning this issue have not caused the expected change, we petitioned the High Court in demand that Netanyahu gives up part of the offices he holds: the State of Israel deserves full-time ministers as well as a full-time PM. Three days after the petition the State announced the PM’s intention of giving up part of the offices: appointing a Minister of Immigration and Absorption within a week (later on Yoav Galant received this office) and also appointing a Minister of Defense substitute within January. Due to the Knesset’s dissolution this move’s future has become unclear, but as we are determined regarding this issue, we will be following it closely after the elections.

We have achieved the goal of our petition against Minister Shaked, who hurt the whistleblowers

26 years ago the law for encouraging integrity in the Public Service was enacted. According to this law, the Minister of Justice should each year turn to the Public in request of recommending whistleblowers so that the President of Israel would choose out of them the ones found worthy of receiving certificates of appreciation. Regrettably, throughout the years this law was a dead letter in the Israeli law book – as there had been no application of its instructions to grant Presidential certificates of appreciation. In 2007 an amendment was enacted, stating the obligation to ask public organizations and the Public to recommend employees who are entitled to this recognition and in 2015 Presidential certificates of appreciation were granted for the first time. When until December, and in spite of our appeals, Minister Shaked failed to publish the call to public organizations and to the Public to recommend whistleblowers worthy of recognitions, we have petitioned in demand to execute the law. Following our petition we have been updated that its target was achieved: Minister Shaked published the call just a few days prior to the end of 2018.

We have filed a complaint with the police due to a false notice sent to citizens during the elections for Rishon Letsiyon municipality

During the second round of elections for Rishon Letsiyon municipality, local citizens received this false notice calling them to refrain from voting to (then) Mayor Dov Tsur: “The Movement for Quality Government: when attending the ballot, remember – Dov Tsur is corrupt. Do not vote for the corrupt. Cleaning the Local municipalities”. This notice faked a Movement notice. It is not ours: it was sent without our knowledge and certainly without our consent. This notice harms severely the Movement’s reputation and the Public trust in the Movement that derives its power from being non-political. Any alleged support (of the Movement) of this candidate or another harms the Movement’s objectivity and the Public trust in it and in its public activity. We have filed a complaint with the police not only in order to defend ourselves but as part of the comprehensive struggle against false propaganda. For a long time now the Movement has been struggling to regulate the whole issue of internet and text messages propaganda and to update the archaic propaganda laws that were written prior to the significant changes in mass communication.

Fighting the rise in the KMs wages

During December 2018 we commenced our fight against the rise in wages that the KMs enjoy at the beginning of each new year. Nearly automatically in the beginning of each Gregorian Calendar Year, the mechanism raises the elected officials’ wages, wages that has been on the rise for ten years successively now. The KMs wages have jumped by about 30% over the last decade; in January 2018 these wages were updated to about ILS42,556 while in January 2019 another update will raise the wages to over ILS43,000 – almost 4.5 times the State Economy’s average wage and 5 times the median wage. These gaps are of the greatest worldwide and it happens while the cost of living keeps burdening the Israeli citizens, who are forced to experience increasing prices of electricity, water, property tax, fruit and vegetables, milk and more. KMs do deserve proper pay for their work, but this yearly almost-automatic-rise mechanism is indeed an exaggeration. In response to our calling all of the KMs to give up 2019 excessive rise, Yesh Atid and Kulanu parties and KMs David Bitan and Mosheh Gafni announced they will give it up.