December 2022

December 2022 Activity Summary Report

We petitioned the Supreme Court against the modifications in the Police Ordinance!

A short while following the Knesset’s approval in first and second calls of the changes that subordinate the police to the political echelon we petitioned the Supreme Court against them. We claimed that this hastily-passed amendment will critically damage the police’s independence and basic democratic principles such as the equality before the law. It will also lead to harming constitutional rights in a disproportional manner and will cause severe harm to the public’s trust in the police and to the public legitimacy of its activity, two principles that constitute an inevitable foundation for the police activity and its capacity to execute missions. Our petition specified several differences between the police and the military, central to them the fact that the police acts vis-à-vis civilians while the military is designated to cope with external threats. These differences undermine the justifications for the amendment while – in the Movement’s opinion – they do justify maintaining the police’s independence distinctively separate from the political echelon. The State is being endangered by the intolerably nonchalant manner – swiftly and without discussing – in which laws were altered and amendments with significant regime effects were implemented.

We petitioned the Supreme Court against the changes in Basic Law: The Government, that were intended to justify Aryeh Deri’s tenure

In his reply to the Movement’s petition just before the elections Judge Yitzchak Amit, Chairman of the Central Election Committee, determined that Deri had a presumption of disgrace due to the suspended prison sentence imposed on him. The verdict stated that if whoever will assemble the government wishes to appoint Deri as minister, he will have first to request the Committee’s Chairman to remove the presumption ofdisgrace. Netanyahu preferred to disregard this statement and so, in a speedy procedure, the new coalition (even before establishing the government) passed a retroactive change in Basic Law: The Government stating that disgrace should be imposed only in case of an actual imprisonment sentence. We claimed in our petition that this is a constitutional amendment that was approved while abusing the constituent authority. The amendment harms the Israeli system of government since it was intended to harm integrity – all out of forbidden personal considerations, coalition needs of the hour and through instructions empty of any worthy purpose that is independent of transient political context. Therefore this amendment must not be placed among Israel’s constitutional norms. There were serious flaws in the legislative process, including harming the principle of the Knesset Members’ participation in the legislation process, the absence of time enough for discussing the change and its consequences, and the absence of factual and legal infrastructure. Our struggle is not only legal: we held mass demonstrations in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the country’s northern and southern regions. We have been demonstrating against the anti-democratic legislation. The Movement’s activists also went on night missions of installing placards on roads and bridges across the country.

We petitioned the Supreme Court against appointing Aryeh deri as minister and in demand to cancel the plea bargain due to his breaching his promise

We submitted to the Supreme Court a petition against Deri’s appointment as minister and in demand to cancel the verdict in his case; we claimed that Deri deceived the Court. We argued that appointing him will be a hard blow on integrity, the public trust and the principle of governmental loyalty. This appointment is tainted by lack of honesty, good faith and reason, and by extreme lack of proportionality. Deri deceived the Court by falsely promising to withdraw from public activity, therefore the verdict and sentence in his case should be cancelled.

The Movement supports the new government’s opinion: The shameful law enacted by Bennet-Lapid government that allowed the division of parties must be repealed!

The media recently published that the Likud party intends to cancel this law that was purposed to split parties and encourage the wrong phenomenon of defection. We support cancelling the law (enacted by the previous government): since establishing the Movement in the time of the Dirty Trick thirty-two years ago we have been fighting against the phenomenon of defection in the political system. This phenomenon reached a pick in the 2020 elections when an unprecedented number of Knesset Members defected from the parties under which they were elected to other ones. Already in July 2021 the Movement petitioned the Supreme Court in demand to cancel the legislation that enabled the splitting of a party with just four mandates. Regretfully, this petition had been rejected however it is time now to cancel every law that was enacted only for serving a government’s momentary and personal needs.

An important achievement for the Movement and for the Public: the Capital Market Authority determines that Alfred Akirov will not be able to gain control of Clal Insurance!

For over a year and a half now we have been struggling against Akirov’s attempts to take over Clal Insurance Company and the pension money of us all. Concerning this issue we participated in Knesset Committees and were in contact with many factors – from the Capital Market Authority to the Israel Securities Authority. We explained to the various regulators the dangers inherent in approving such a control and the danger of returning to the time of centralization in the economy and to debts settlements (“haircuts”) at the expense of the Public. According to news published recently, Akirov received a letter from the Capital Market Authority stating that he was not permitted to gain control of Clal Holdings by way of Alrov Company.

Thanks to our intervention, the State will prosecute Faina Kirschenbaum and will demand that she returns the millions

The Movement for Government Quality demanded from the State Attorney Office to submit a civil lawsuit against former Deputy Minister of Interior Faina Kirschenbaum in order to make her compensate the Public for the damages caused due to her acts of bribery and corruption; already in April 2021 we contacted the Civil Enforcement Unit of the State Attorney Office concerning this issue. The investigation of this case started thanks to our activity several years ago and now we believe that this criminal procedure should be completed by a civil one that will refund the money. It is not enough that corrupt people will be imprisoned – they must also return whatever they stole and compensate the Public for the damage. A civil tort claim is an inevitable means that complements the criminal lawsuit and has got the potential of deterring future criminals.

Following the Movement’s petition the Supreme Court rejected Netanyahu’s request of another discussion about returning the $270,000 he received from his cousin

Following the Movement’s petition, Judge Yitzchak Amit rejected Netanyahu’s request to be granted one more discussion of the last October Supreme Court’s verdict that obliged him to return the $270,000 given to him as a gift by his cousin, the late Natan Milikovski. To our regret Netanyahu did not accept the Court’s decision and requested another discussion of the verdict. Rejecting the request, Judge Amit determined that Netanyahu’s advocates “claimed their claims… merely and without substantiating even closely a reason for holding another discussion”. Already in October we welcomed the Court’s decision that reflected actual approval of most of the Movement’s claims and determined that the money that former Prime Minister Netanyahu received from his cousin had been given contrary to the Gift Law and therefore he should return it. We now welcome Judge Amit’s decision to adhere to the Supreme Court’s verdict. We also join the Supreme Court President Esther Chayut, who within this verdict called on the next government to immediately establish an ethical code for the government in order to prevent such events in the future.

We petitioned the Supreme Court: Is the Civil Service Commissioner intervening for the sake of Netanyahu’s close associate?

The Civil Service Commissioner’s intervention in the procedure of dismissing an employee at the Prime Minister Office was done without authority. We petitioned the Supreme Court in request to order Commissioner Herschkowitz to stay out of the dismissal case of Alon Halvah, vice CEO for security and emergency at the PM’s office and also a close associate of Netanyahu. Due to claims of his being incompatible of fulfilling the position, Halvah faced a procedure of hearing before dismissal that ended in the decision of the PM Office’s CEO to terminate Halvah’s employment. A short while before validating the dismissal the Civil Service Commissioner requested the CEO to freeze the procedure and to re-evaluate it. In our petition we argued that the Commissioner had no authority to intervene in this procedure. We argued also that this intervention raises suspicions of bias and extraneous considerations given Halvah’s political and personal closeness to powerful figures in the local politics. The Civil Service Commission is the Israeli Public Service’s mainstay. When irrelevant considerations determine the manner of employing or dismissing workers in the Service, its clients will be first to get hurt, which actually means that the whole of the Israeli public will be inflicted. We expect that the Commissioner, who acted without any authority to do so, will obey the professional opinion and withdraw his intervention.

In view of the intention to cancel the Team of Directors we published a position paper: Directors should be selected according to their qualifications, not their connections. The Job Method must not be allowed to return!

The implementation of the “Team of Directors” method – for appointing professionals instead of cronies or political affiliates to government companies – resulted in turning the government companies from bodies losing hundreds of thousands of millions a year into ones that profit by the billions, part of which sums return to the State Treasury. In the new government there are now those who threat to dismantle the Team of Directors in order to have back the method of jobs and improper appointments. We published a detailed position paper written by Adv. Ariel Barzilai, director of the Movement’s economics department. The paper can be found at the Movement’s Facebook page and in Walla site.

Following the Movement’s activity, the Public Committee will recommend to cede the automatic update of the Knesset Members’ wages

During December it was announced that the wages of the Knesset Members were to be updated on 1st January and increase automatically by 4% to 15%.  Such an update has been occurring each year so that the KMs’ wages have been constantly rising. This is why we personally appealed to the Public Committee members in demand that they recommend immediately to the Knesset Committee to terminate the automatic update. Already in 2015 the Public Committee determined that it was illogical and unfair that these wages will rise each and every year. Then, the Knesset Members refused to accept this recommendation. Recently we were happy to realize that following our appeal to it, the Public Committee will soon submit its recommendation of establishing a new mechanism for fixing the KMs’ wages, one that will annul the automatic update. We expect the Knesset to accept the recommendation.

What happened to the investigation of Silman’s forbidden armoring?

According to the media it seemed that Idit Silman has been expecting the criminal promises given to her to be realized and that due to the heavy cost of her defection she will not settle for the position of deputy minister or head of a committee. Indeed, later on she was appointed as a minister! Hence we demanded once again to open a criminal investigation against Silman due to the suspicion of breaching the election law that forbids the promise of armor when given not within the election period. During the previous government’s tenure it came out that Silman had been promised armor for the Knesset and for the position of minister on the condition that she opposed her party’s stance, this way overthrowing the government. We presented a comprehensive factual infrastructure establishing that the promise of armoring Silman in the Likud was given to her outside the 90 days prior to the elections. This case of the promises given to Silman illustrated once again the brutal crushing of legal instructions and the criminal acts that allegedly took place.

Ashdod Port management – stop harassing whistleblowers!

For nearly 20 years now the Movement has been accompanying Yuval Cohen, a marine officer employed at Ashdod Port where he witnessed wrongful acts that violated the rules of proper administration and caused wasting of public money and severe safety faults. As a civil servant and a prime professional, Cohen presented to Ashdod Port’s internal auditor a series of severe omissions and deficiencies in the conduct of various personae in the Port. Among these issues were, for example, appointing close associates and attempting to conceal grave safety accidents. As a result of his activity, Yuval was forced to face harsh harassment in his workplace including life threats, discrediting his personal and professional reputation and – the pick of it all – preventing his promotion to the position of a tugboat skipper by biasing tenders against him for over 14 years! Yuval petitioned the Labor Court many times and won in all of the petitions, as the Court obliged the Port to publish a new tender each time. Yuval finally won the 2016 tender (scoring extremely high) but suddenly there surfaced a claim that there was “no standard” for the position – contrary to the actual situation of hardships in staffing the positions of tugboats skippers and in the Port’s general functioning and in spite of the life-threatening safety hazards involved in this given condition of the Port. Consequently, we appealed (once again) to the Labor Court but the Port’s people were incessantly adamant that there were no standards. Recently we have revealed that a new tender – relating to exactly the same position of a tugboat skipper that Yuval won in 2016 – has been published by Ashdod Port despite the claims of “no standards” for this position. Together with Adv. Ron Dror and Adv. Karin Weinstein we submitted to the Labor Court an urgent request and a lawsuit to issue an injunction prohibiting the Israel Ports Company (owner of Ashdod Port) from executing the new tender unless Yuval Cohen is appointed as a tugboat skipper, the position he won in the 2016 tender.

More from the Movement’s desk

Away with darkness! The education system must stay liberal and pluralistic for the benefit of all the citizens of Israel. The media informed that in the coalition agreement signed with Noam faction that opposes the LGBT’s rights, the faction’s chairman Avi Maoz was granted the authority over the Unit for External Programs and Partnership Advancement in the Ministry of Education. This unit is in charge of developing and leading processes of discourse between sectors in the Ministry’s various components while imparting skills of sharing processes and of creating a culture of participatory governance. It is improbable that our children’s education will be in the responsibility of people who adhere to dark and anti-democratic views. We salute the parents, teachers and local authorities for refusing to collaborate with this change. It is highly important that the education system will remain liberal, pluralistic and humanistic, granting space to all sectors and communities. It is important to expose the children of this state to issues of freedom, equality and human love. We must not let anti-democratic agendas enter the Israeli education system. * The Movement for Quality Government mourns the passing of former Knesset Member Mosheh Mizrachi who dedicated his life to fighting against criminality and corruption. Serving in the Police, he commanded the Investigations Department in the time of the Deri’s investigations, commanded the investigations against Avigdor Lieberman (when the latter served as CEO of the Prime Minister Office) and the investigations of businessman David Appel and of Ma’ariv newspaper’s publisher Ofer Nimrodi. Mosheh continued fighting corruption also as a Knesset Member by serving as chairman of the Lobby for the Fight against Corruption and also as a member of the State Audit Committee. After retiring from political activity he maintained battling against corruption and lectured in the subject to teenagers. * As each month, also this December we implemented lectures, public events, home meetings and educational activities for various audiences in order to deliver everywhere the message of the necessity to fight against corruption.