January 2023

January 2023 Activity Summary Report

Victory of our petition to the Supreme Court: Deri’s appointment as minister was ruled out!

Following our petition to the Supreme Court against appointing the convicted criminal Aryeh Deri and after our appearance in the discussion of the expanded composition, the Supreme Court ruled out Deri’s appointment as minister in the Israeli Government. Not surrendering to threats, the Court determined unequivocally that Deri was not fit to function as a minister. Following this ruling we demanded from Prime Minister Netanyahu to dismiss Deri, which indeed happened.

We submitted a petition: a criminal investigation must be initiated against PM Netanyahu regarding the Gifts Affair

We petitioned the Supreme Court in demand to open a criminal investigation against PM Netanyahu who, during his previous tenure as Prime Minister, received gifts valued by millions of shekels and failed to return them to the State’s possession. According to a list of the missing gifts that had been formulated following our formal request of Freedom of Information, among the gifts are – for example –  the first Bible with Rashi’s commentary, given by the Russian President; a box decorated with gold leaves created by artist Stephen Schlanser and given by the President of the USA; a box containing a gold coin, from the Pope; a vial from the French President; a porcelain pitcher and a set of tea cups and kettle from the German Chancellor; a porcelain dove from the Finnish President; a jug from the Japanese Ambassador. Already in her answer to our request of Freedom of Information, the PM Office’s legal counsel notified that her efforts to have the gifts returned, failed. The Movement’s petition demanded from the Attorney General to explain her refraining from enforcing the return of the gifts that Netanyahu received due to his role as Prime Minister and chose not to return to the State’s possession, which is counter the Law.

We petitioned the Supreme Court: Why no criminal investigation has been opened yet regarding the circumstances of Minister Silman’s resigning from the previous coalition?

In the petition we requested from the Supreme Court to have an urgent discussion and to impose a conditional order on the Likud party and on Minister Idit Silman due to (as stated by reports) heavy suspicions of Silman’s repeated violation of section 57a in the Knesset Election Law. According to the media, Silman was promised armoring and a role in the current Knesset. This promise was given by the Likud party on condition that Silman withdraws from the previous coalition headed by former Prime Minister Naftali Bennet. The publications also revealed that Silman threatened Halikud members in case they refrained from granting her a ministerial role in the present coalition. If these publications are right then this is a blatant violation of the Knesset Elections Law that forbids armoring in a certain party if done not within the 90 days before the elections to the Knesset. The amendment for this law was intended to prevent the phenomenon of political desertion.

We petitioned the Supreme Court: A conflict of interest arrangement with PM Netanyahu should be arranged

We petitioned the Supreme Court in request to issue a conditional order directing the Government Attorney General to determine an updated and binding conflict of interest arrangement for Binyamin Netanyahu after he started serving as the 37th Prime Minister. This is necessary due to the acute conflict of interest intrinsic to Netanyahu’s involvement in appointments and in governmental activities that have a bearing on the criminal trial in his case. We also requested interim orders forbidding Netanyahu to make decisions in issues with which he is in a conflict of interest and an interim order forbidding him – also due to conflict of interest – to meet with the Attorney General for discussing the splitting of the Attorney General role. We requested the Court to discuss our petition in urgent. This agreement is the least that is needed in order to ensure that Netanyahu’s actions and decisions as prime minister are not affected by the indictments against him and in order to inform the Knesset and the Public about the restrictions imposed on Knesset Member Netanyahu while serving as Prime Minister.

A victory for the Movement: Our recommendations concerning financial regulators will be accepted as a law!

Last year the Movement’s economic department submitted a position paper to the public committee established to examine the structure of the financial regulation. According to our concept, the supervision’s current decentralized and branch structure causes several problems. We were happy to realize that after our lobbying and after a hearing before the committee, the Arrangement Law’s draft that was published this month revealed that our recommendations will be accepted as a law! We argued that it is necessary to establish a permanent committee (versus ad hoc ones) in collaboration with the Competition Authority (that will advance competition considerations also in the financial regulation) and together with joint teams, while each regulator keeps its professional independence in his/her field of expertise. This is an achievement for the Movement and for the citizens, who will receive a competitive market that will ensure that the price increase will not be passed on to the Public.

What is happening in EAPC? Remove the confidentiality!

We submitted a position paper

The government intends to extend the confidentiality certificate granted to the activity of the government company EAPC (Europe Asia Pipeline Company), although it was supposed to expire already last year. Recently, we submitted a position paper relating to this confidentiality certificate given to the company since the establishment of the State of Israel due to the claim of “security needs”. In the paper we expressed our fear that extending the confidentiality will be influential regarding substantial issues such as appointments, wages and deals that might be implemented without supplying clear reasons for any “security need” in the pretext of the company’s obligation to confidentiality. Moreover: the confidentiality enabled the company to evade comprehensive examinations of the Government as well as of the Public so that it was easier for it to conduct defectively and faultily (as happened in many cases of environmental pollution, odd appointments and deals that were failed and dangerous).

We asked the Attorney General: How was Deri permitted to participate in the Cabinet discussions?

The media informed that PM Netanyahu invited Aryeh Deri to join the meetings of the State Security Cabinet despite the fact that Deri is not a member of the Government and he lacks a statutory standing. We required from the Government Attorney General to relate to the ban on Deri’s participation in the State security Cabinet’s meetings since by the law the Cabinet is the limited section of government members that is authorized to determine in critically confidential matters. Though the Cabinet is what its name conveys: a committee of ministers, and without any government’s decision to add to the Cabinet new members from the government, it seems that the PM decided to exceed the legal instructions and enable Knesset Member Deri who is not a minister to join the Cabinet’s meetings. Moreover – Deri’s presence as an observer might lead to a problematic situation of accepting as observers persons who are not government members but are favored by the Prime Minister. Such a situation will harm the Cabinet’s activity as a professional body that makes critical decisions. In the Movement’s view, the Government Law determines that the State Security Cabinet should consist of members of the government. Hence, Deri’s participation is forbidden.

The protest continues in full power!

This month we continued our activity of protesting against the regime change: tens of thousands joined the demonstrations we held each week in Tel Aviv; we set up a protest tent in Agranat Square in Jerusalem, between the Supreme Court of Justice and the Knesset, and many citizens arrive there to join our special activities, hear lectures about the quality of government and the regime change and participate in guided tours of the Supreme Court; together with hundreds of thousands we demonstrated in front of the Knesset in Jerusalem while Knesset members had been voting about the first laws of the regime change; we held conferences and meetings for explaining to the Public the outcomes of the regime change. Among other issues, this month we held a conference concerning the regime change’s influences on the economic and the cost of living.

We welcome the decisions of Minister of Finance Smotrich regarding the concentration in the banking market and in the food market

The media informed that Minister of Finance Betzalel Smotrich announced that he will separate Cal Credit Cards Company from Discount Bank. We welcome this significant move he decided to implement! Following, The Knesset Financial Committee held a discussion regarding the subject. During the discussion Knesset member Yinon Azoulay claimed that it was important to separate Cal from Discount but it was also important to separate Cal from The First International Bank of Israel (Habeinleumi), otherwise it will be “a half work”. This is a highly important attitude that we welcome. It’s worth mentioning that during the recent years the market of financial services went through a number of significant changes intended to cause an increase of competition while accentuating a reduction of the cost of living for the households. One of the main reforms was to change the situation of credit companies owned by banks, a situation identified as one of the main failures of the market and as a main reason for maintaining the Banks’ power and the absence of competition. The meaning of such a separation is obliging the relevant banks to sell their holdings in the credit companies they owned. The Minister of Finance’s decision to separate Cal from Discount is a significant step on the route toward an absolute separation between the credit companies and the banks; therefore it is necessary to act right away for disconnecting the remaining linkage between Cal and the International Bank that still holds 28% of Cal’s shares. The media reported also that the Ministry of Finance and its Minister intended to reduce the market power of suppliers versus retailers, meaning that Diplomat and Shastovich companies will be limited regarding the brands they import and so will not be able to compete with themselves through substitute products. We congratulate the Minister for this decision as well, as it will dismantle the two largest food importers in the economy and expectedly reduce the concentration in the food market and thus lower the cost of living.

More from the Movement’s desk:

We demanded from the government members to refrain from harming Kan Corporation and the public broadcasting. * We supported the Governor of the Bank of Israel: Even if politicians dislike it, do not hesitate to express your professional opinions concerning the economical influences of the regime change. This is part of the Governor’s role. * Following disturbing reports that Minister of National Security Knesst Member Itamar Ben-Gvir instructed the Police to act fiercely against citizens who protest and demonstrate against the Government, we clarified to the Police Inspector General that the right of protest is a basic right of the Israeli citizens and must not be infringed under any circumstances. Exactly this is the police job: protecting and securing the citizens’ basic rights * We suggested to the IDF to establish a designated department within the Soldiers Grievances Commission for the treatment of soldiers who experienced all sorts of abuse (such as boycott, casting out, violence etc.) as response to their reporting improper conducts to which they were exposed during their military service. Our suggestion was initiated by Carmela Menasheh’s report in Kan 11 channel about an incident happened last month in which a soldier, who had just finished his basic training, reported to his commanders that soldiers in his unit were playing with weapons in a life-threatening manner and against all safety instructions. Due to this report the soldier underwent abuse by his unit “friends” who decided to punish him for “snitching” on their forbidden and dangerous toying with weapons. * We called on the ministers to refrain from appointing Mosheh Ben Zaken as CEO of the Ministry of Transportation. His candidacy for the position had been ruled out by the Appointment Committee due to Ben Zaken’s lack of the management and professional experience – as not to say high-level experience – needed for succeeding in such a role. The committee further warned that Ben Zaken’s appointment to this position might harm the function of the Ministry of Transportation whose decisions have crucial macro-economic implications and a highly dramatic influence on the daily life of all of the Israeli citizens.