January 2020

January 2020 Activity Summary Report

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Fighting against forbidden propaganda: We demanded from YouTube to remove an anti-Likud anonymous video clip

We contacted YouTube site’s management in demand to remove an anonymous video clip containing electoral propaganda against Likud party. The Israeli law prohibits publicizing anonymous electoral video clips so that both the propaganda’s initiator and the online advertising platform are considered liable for the publication. Moreover, anonymous video clips on social networks mislead the Public and are also being abused by people of wealth. This phenomenon has become prevalent throughout all of the different political camps. We will continue fighting against the spreading of lies and breaching the laws of campaigning – for the sake of a clean and fair elections campaign as this country’s citizens are entitled to have.

Fighting against the increase in water prices: The government ignores the law – and the Public pays!

Our water bills comprise not only the actual cost of water but also a great amount of surplus bureaucracy, an exaggerated number of jobs, rental costs for unnecessary water corporations, and more. This situation was created because there are dozens of water corporations more than is necessary. Already two years ago the Knesset enacted a law for the sake of reducing the number of water corporations from the current 56 to only 30 regional corporations, a change that is expected to reduce the cost of water for all of us. However, while this already enacted law has not yet been implemented, it has been totally ignored. Since the number of water corporations has not been reduced, the Public continues to pay much too high prices for water. Once we at the Movement realize that there is no other option, we will petition the High Court of Justice; in the meantime, thousands of citizens have signed our petition of civil struggle in this issue.

Gadi Yevarkan’s move: 2020’s Dirty Trick

“Pursuit of a chair” and the advancing of personal interests without a trace of ideology are all that is bad in our politics. Defecting from one political camp to another had been considered nasty already in Israeli politics of the 1950’s and was named “Kalantarism” after Rahamim Kalantar, who in 1956 defected from one faction to another within Jerusalem municipality in exchange for political payment. The Movement for Government Quality was founded in March 1990 when it fought against the Dirty Trick led by Ha’avodah party’s Shimon Peres and Haim Ramon, who ousted Halikud’s Yitzhak Shamir from his position as prime minister. As part of their Dirty Trick, Ramon and Peres persuaded Likud’s Knesset members to defect from their party to Ha’avoda out of sheer opportunism that had nothing to do with ideology.

Gadi Yevarkan’s move is a downright Kalantarism: it was designated to advance him personally while ideological principles and values had no part in it whatsoever.

Calling David Bitan to resign from the Knesset due to his indictment

At the beginning of this month we called the Attorney General to decide in the issue of indicting David Bitan; indeed, later on the AG announced the indictment. Following the intention of appointing Bitan as minister, we called PM Netanyahu to refrain from this step due to the suspicions against Bitan. To our delight, Bitan himself announced his giving up the appointment. However, one of our calls is still valid – Bitan, as well as any other Knesset member who is indicted, should resign from the Knesset.

The Immunity discussions

We called all of the Knesset Members to oppose granting immunity to the PM and to KM Haim Katz and so to prevent turning the Israeli parliament into a City of Refuge. As for Netanyahu’s immunity, we informed KMs who are prosecution witnesses at the (Netanyahu’s) trial, that their participating in discussions of the immunity request might be regarded as obstruction of justice. In addition, we notified Knesset Chairman Edelstein that we will consider implementing legal action if he refrained from assembling the Knesset Committee for discussing the immunity request. We were pleased to know that he did assemble the committee and that Netanyahu, later on, announced he gave up his request for immunity. Obviously we continued our struggle to prevent KM Haim Katz’s request for immunity.

Some of the Movement’s activities regarding municipal issues for this month

We submitted a comprehensive outlook concerning photographing and audio-recording of council meetings in local authorities and also demanded to open budget-related meetings to the public – in contrast to these meetings having been unlawfully closed to the public ◆ We won a petition for Freedom of Information concerning the parking supervision system in Bney Brak ◆ We requested 70 municipalities to examine construction permits for billboards in their municipal areas ◆ We sent a demand according to Freedom of Information law to Petah Tikva municipality concerning a suspicion of a tender tailor-made for a spokesman who did not meet the threshold conditions ◆ We demanded Kfar Saba municipality to provide information about contacting an external law firm ◆ We have started an inquiry concerning suspicion of disappearance of funds in Shlomi local council ◆ Prior to considering legal action – we sent a final notice to Beyt Arieh local council concerning suspicion of disrupting the measuring of property tax (arnona) areas in order to cover the council’s deficits.

More on the Movement’s desk for this month

We demanded a criminal investigation concerning the affair of data forgery in IDF ◆ We requested to inquire whether the Minister of Social Equality’s personal assistant used to drive the minister’s spouse for the latter’s personal matters ◆ Following our call, the State Comptroller announced that he will write a special inspection report of the flooding events ◆ We demanded from Minister of Justice Ohana to establish a committee for examining the process of appointing judges over the last years, especially with regard to recent publications in this issue ◆ We requested the Attorney General and the Knesset to supervise the use made of KMs’ and ministers’ Facebook pages in time of elections; we warned parties of all political contexts about committing sever breaching of the elections laws ◆ We exposed senders of anonymous SMSs that pestered the public with prohibited elections propaganda; we also submitted an elections petition against Yamina party’s chairman Naftali Bennet who uploaded to social networks pictures of him with soldiers – an act forbidden by elections laws ◆ Once again we demanded from the State Attorney to start the process of returning public funds from Sarah Netanyahu ◆ We submitted a Freedom of Information petition against the Prime Minister’s office concerning the financing of the PM’s many flights close to the previous elections date ◆ We demanded from inspection factors in the State Comptroller’s and the Commissioner of Municipal Corporations’ offices to examine forgeries of tenders – of which we were informed by a whistleblower ◆ We requested to join as amicus curiae  (friend of the court) to a case of SLAPP – Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation –  performed against a whistleblower ◆ We asked the Ministry of Justice to provide us with the data of this year’s number of whistleblowers recommended  for certificates of appreciation and the data specifying how many of them actually received these certificates ◆ We requested the new Minister of Welfare to dismiss a vice-CEO who was appointed allegedly unlawfully and through severe damage caused to the Youth Sponsorship Authority ◆ We asked to clarify arrangements of conflicts of interests relating to Ministry of Health’s external consultants suspected by us to have interests regarding private companies ◆ We stopped the appointing of a permanent Police Inspector General and of a permanent Chief Commissioner for IPS (Israel Prison Service) due to the current situation of an interim government; we demanded to prevent the appointment of a chairperson to the Regional Baron Villages Planning Committee: this appointment was executed contrary to the Attorney General’s instructions ◆ We applied pressure for advancing another appointment to a key role in the Youth Sponsorship Authority instead of an inappropriate one that was executed contrary to the rules ◆ We submitted a Freedom of Information petition against the Ministry of Justice due to the closing of  legal cases against former chiefs in the Broadcasting Authority ◆ We requested Freedom of Information from the Ministries of Energy and Defense in an attempt to follow the public funding of the gas drilling rigs’ security ◆ We formulated a comprehensive outlook and passed it on to all party leaders in order to raise their awareness of matters allowed or prohibited during the time of elections. We also acted against a cellular company and against Facebook and youTube that enabled the posting of unlawful anonymous propaganda against politicians and parties of all political contexts ◆ We submitted an elections petition against posting forbidden campaign in the PM’s Facebook page ◆ We demanded to start an investigation of the director of the Medical Cannabis Unit’s allegedly conflict of interest regarding the Cannabis Reform ◆ We continued accompanying a whistleblower from Ashdod Port in the legal procedure ◆ We demanded from an authority that has been harassing a whistleblower to remove from his personal file disgracing letters that were put there furtively and contrary to the rules ◆ We continued to accompany the affair of Ben Gurion Airport beating policemen: we demanded to deliver a severe sentence with them ◆ We requested the Ministry of Transportation to examine the allegedly conflict of interest in determining taxi fares.