February 2021

February 2021 Activity Summary Report

We petitioned the Supreme Court: It is imperative to enable everyone to vote in Election Day!

Israel is the only state in the whole world that for nearly two months now has been limited the entrance of its own citizens into it. Someone here has got it wrong: The State belongs to its citizens, not to the Government! In addition, according to publications, the Committee’s decisions have been tainted by nepotism and by discriminating between sectors. It is an unacceptable reality, certainly not before elections. Each and every citizen should be provided with the chance to effectuate the most fundamental democratic right, which is to vote. The outline accepted does not solve the problem at all. Due to the unequivocally high importance of health and the fight against Corona virus, it is essential that solutions (e.g. isolation, severe enforcement, checks) will be provided in collaboration with the Ministry of Health’s professionals; the current situation can’t possibly continue. We also sent a Freedom of Information request regarding the Exceptions Committee out of heavy suspicion of Governmental discrimination for the sake of wealthy people, celebs and cronies. As well, we demanded from the Attorney General to start a criminal investigation against Minister Deri who, according to a report, in spite of Corona regulations ensured entrance for his cronies.

Starting to provide whistleblowers with professional mental health support

Whistleblowers keep coping with complex mental stress: harassment, dismissal, social isolation, all of which charge heavy prices of mental health and at times also physical. Many whistleblowers reach a stage of requiring professional help. For many years now we have been providing whistleblowers with legal aid: we have been fighting for them in courts, in front of the State Comptroller, and wherever needed. Currently, due to establishing a crowdfunding campaign, we have been able at last to fund professional treatment also to their mental needs.

Safeguarding the election’s purity: fighting forbidden campaign

As in any elections’ campaign, also now we have been constantly monitoring the different parties’ propaganda in order to ensure their compliance with rules of Purity of the Elections and with the Law. Just to give an example, this month we brought about the removal of propaganda videos of Likud party (Minister Miri Regev made use of a municipality’s public building and Knesset Member Osnat Mark made use of health maintenance organizations), of Kachol Lavan party (having kids’ participation) and we petitioned against Shas party publications that made use of IDF soldiers. In addition we distributed to all the parties competing in the elections a comprehensive outlook concerning prohibited elections propaganda. This guide also comprises updates like boundaries of acting on the internet and social networks, ways of using public money, anonymous propaganda text messages and restrictions on billboards.

Collecting data about voters? We contacted the Privacy Protection Authority concerning Elector application

During former elections this application was in use of Likud and Israel Beytenu parties as a means of collecting voters’ private data. Following an investigation of the Privacy Protection Authority it was determined that Elector and these parties violated the law. Private information of millions of citizens leaked then; now we have realized – according to publications – that the Likud once again uses this application! We demanded from the Privacy Protection Authority to sanction any party that will collect voters’ private data.

We demand to interrogate vice Minister Fateen Mulla (Likud) – there’s no place to intervening of the Palestinian Authority in Israel’s elections!

According to publications the Likud party, through Deputy Minister Fateen Mulla, attempted to involve (directly!) the Palestinian Authority in influencing the Israeli Arabs to vote for Likud in the coming elections. We demanded from the Attorney General and the Police Inspector General to open a criminal investigation in this issue. Outer intervention in the election process in Israel, an independent and democratic state, is outrageous!

We petitioned the Supreme Court against Minister Amsalem’s conduct

Within less than a year David Amsalem, Minister of National Digital and Cyber, accumulated a pile of anti-democratic acts. In our petition we referred to his taking revenge on professionals because of a personal conflict and without any authority to do so. As the Minister disliked the fact of these professionals acting according to the General Attorney’s directions, he decided to refrain from signing significant power of attorney forms – an act that paralyzed many state-owned enterprises. It is unacceptable to have Minister Amsalem acting by his private whims and political considerations, paralyzing state-owned enterprises as a result. We are convinced that the judges too will regard the issue this way.   

The coastal oil pollution: An unprecedented ecological disaster in Israel – an investigation is needed now!

We have been witnessing enormous pollution of the Israeli seashores due to acute oil leakage close to the Mediterranean coasts. From north to south, our coastline was filled up with black tar, the sea water was polluted, flora and fauna in the water and along the coastline were devastatingly damaged. What brought on the disaster? Was there any suitable preparation for such a case? In what ways can a similar event be prevented or its damages reduced? We demanded from the Minister of Environmental Protection to establish a full and substantial investigation of the case and to learn from it the appropriate lessons.

We commented to municipalities of mixed-populations towns: Accessibility to the municipalities’ internet sites must be equal to all, obviously to Arabic-speaking residents

An examination we initiated showed that mixed-populations towns with over 20% Arabic speakers do not keep the equality-for-all principal in that they don’t make online contents and services accessible also to Arabic speakers. This month we demanded from Ramla, Lod, Ma’alot-Tarshikha, Acco, Nof Hagalil and Haifa Municipalities to make their internet sites information accessible to Arab speakers, as demands the Right for Equality. Already Lod’s Mayor Yair Revivo has answered that he will act for realizing this demand; we hope that other municipalities will follow suit. Municipalities offer many services online in order to save time and other valuable resources. The range is vast: from paying a parking report or asking for reduction in property tax to information considering resident’s rights and notices from the municipality. The lack of Arabic versions of the sites makes them irrelevant for a significant part of the local residents. In addition, Arabic is not just “another language” but the language of 20% of Israel’s population while in mixed-populations towns Arabic speakers may constitute even a higher percentage of the residents. Making the sites accessible is part of a municipality’s obligation to acknowledge the entitlement of its Arab residents to equal rights.

Supreme Court discussion of our petition against the endless postponement of passing the National Budget and against none- supervised passing of billions that the Knesset members approved for themselves

It is about an amendment created following “Hauser Compromise” – the one that enabled the KMs to pass billions without a budget and with no overseeing while simultaneously postponing on and on the passing of the State Budget. The country needs a budget – toying with it for politics and for personal interests of criminally indicted one person is unacceptable.

The Supreme Court discussed our petition against the law that enabled establishing the “Exchange Government”

The bizarre double-headed government established following the former elections was a real change in the electoral system – it took place after the elections! Voting for the 23rd Knesset had been conducted according to a certain system; this system changed in retrospect, meaning – after the elections. Any wish to change the elections system is legitimate as long as the change is applied before future elections, not after elections that have already taken place. In addition, the law also harms the Knesset majority’s ability of monitoring the government – which is a severe injury to democracy. The judges listened to our arguments; we hope they will order to repeal the amendment to the law.

The protest continued also in Purim: Hooloyada (he didn’t know) march!

Also during this month, each Saturday night we protested in front of the Keysaria home of the accused-of-crimes Prime Minister. However due to Purim holiday the protest put on another form so that we had a Purim happening in the spirit of the protest. We set off marching in Keysaria from Rali Square toward the house where we demonstrated wearing masks and protest-related costumes. For the sake of protesting we held installations, performances and special protest shows with artists and bands. As are all of our demonstrations, this one also got the Police permission and was carried out while following the Ministry of Health’s Corona directions.

More from the Movement’s desk for this month

Victory for the Public and the fight for Transparency: following the Movement’s struggle, all of the ministers and their deputies submitted their financial statements to the State Comptroller! * We noticed to the Attorney General: It’s time for transparency of the Lobbyists’ activity in all of the government offices. * We demanded from the ministers to cancel the decision of transferring the Authority for the Rights of Holocaust Survivors from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Social Equality. Fiercely opposed by professionals, this decision will reduce the quality of services provided to holocaust survivors. There is no appropriate reason for this decision other than the reason of political benefits. Holocaust survivors are in no way a political card. * We demand to expose the details of the deal with Syria and to specify what precisely Syria received for returning the Israeli citizen who crossed the border. It seems that censoring the deal had political reasons and not practical security ones. * We demanded from the Attorney General and the Police Inspector General to open a criminal investigation in suspicion of violating the Purity of Elections by Tigbur Company or any of its employees: it came up that the link of registering to the screenings for being employed in counting votes at the election committees leaked to Im Tirtzu movement that distributed it to its supporters prior to the formal opening of the registration. * We demanded from the Minister of Finance to use his authority in order to let the Public know the profits of companies and corporations that use national natural resources that in fact belong to all of the Israeli citizens. Money yielded from taxing these profits was meant for establishing the “Wealth Fund”; as this fund hasn’t been established yet, there is suspicion that these companies and corporations avoid paying what they owe to the Israeli Public. * The Bank of Israel report showed that seven years after deciding on regulating the route for reduced bank fees, tens of percent of citizens still pay higher prices than the prices determined by the arrangement. We demanded from the banks to move to this route the whole lot of the citizens, out of whom many were unaware of the existence of such a route. * Our petition concerning Netanyahu’s refusal to respect the conflict of interest agreement had been discussed this month. * We submitted to the Committee for the Reduction of Centralization our opinion regarding the Centralization Law in which we clarified that this law must not be taken back to a softer definition. On the contrary: for the sake of the struggle against centralization and the high cost of living it is obligatory to apply the law to more companies. * We petitioned the Supreme Court against the government decision of refraining from allocating a rigid tenure to the Police Inspector General. This decision creates a situation of the IG’s constant dependence on political factors and his need to please them so that his tenure will continue. Under such conditions no professional and independent functioning can be expected from the IG. * On the occasion of Knight of Government Quality laureate and Knesset Member of Shas party Yitzkhak Cohen‘s retirement from the Knesset, we congratulated him and thanked him for his long-standing activity for the sake of the Israeli Public. KM Cohen participated with us in our central struggles like the ones against economic centralization, the high cost of living and the robbery of North African holocaust survivors. We thank KM Cohen and wish the Knesset many more quality members like him.