July 2020

July 2020 Activity Summary Report

The protest goes on: Victory for the Public and for Freedom of Protest

Israel Police requested The High Court of Justice to postpone the petition of Rehavia neighborhood residents and to grant the Public the freedom to demonstrate in front of the PM’s residency in Balfour Street, Jerusalem. We bless the police for accepting our stance; we shall continue protesting, according to the law, in both Balfur and Keisaria. We’ll keep demonstrating on bridges and in the streets and squares and won’t stop until we are heard.

First step toward equalizing the rights of the self-employed

The self-employed are of the most dominant employers and producers in the economy and are paying the highest taxes and National Insurance payments. Yet unlike the employees, they haven’t got any safety net and are not entitled to unemployment benefits at all. One of the self-employed’s main demands in this period of time was to receive the same financial compensations as do the employees who are entitled to unemployment benefits. Some weeks ago we demanded from Minister of Welfare Shmuli and Minister of Finance Katz to equalize the self-employed’s conditions for receiving unemployment benefits to those of the employed’s. Among other issues we reminded Shmuli his authority to establish regulations (also as Temporary Legislation) to equalize the self-employed’s status to that of the employed’s regarding unemployment benefits. This is a simple and prompt action that will support the self-employed in times of crisis. Though initially the Coalition dropped the bill of granting unemployment benefits to the self-employed, it was recently published that this initiative will return to be discussed. Minister Shmuli announced that with help of the National Insurance Institute of Israel an outline for granting unemployment benefits to the self-employed was established. Shmuli keeps pressing to enter this law already in the upcoming budget.

We petitioned the High Court of Justice: The Judicial Selection Committee must include a member of the Opposition. Crushing the Legislature must be stopped!

The Executive attempts to harm the Israeli Legislature and Judiciary: for over 30 years now The Knesset have been choosing (by secret ballot) at least one Opposition representative for the Judicial Selection Committee, an act which is as close as possible to constitutional customary law in Israel. The basis for this constitutional convention is the principal of the Minority’s representation and participation in accepting decisions and the principal of the Judicial Selection Committee independence and sovereignty. However, the agreement between Halikud and Kahol Lavan stated that this committee will comprise two Coalition representatives – KMs Mark and Hauser – and that all the Coalition members are obliged to refrain from presenting other representatives instead. Choosing only Coalition representatives harms the equilibrium and enhances the Coalition power to appoint judges not according to their professional capacities.

No succumbing to violence! We act with full capacity against the Police brutality in the protests

An end must be put to the outrageous phenomena of policemen violence against demonstrators, of their attempts to intimidate, and of their use of extreme and inappropriate means during the demonstrations. We have been active ceaselessly regarding these issues: in the Committee for Internal Affairs and Environmental Protection we presented the issue of Police violence and this of photographing the demonstrators. Consequently, the Committee has demanded formally to receive the Police’s answers. We demanded from the Police Inspector General to stop the use of powerful water jets against the demonstrators who are, in fact, not violent. We demanded from the Attorney General to check the issues of Police violence and over-policing with regard to the demonstrations. We demanded the Minister of Public Security to establish a committee that will extensively examine the Police violence in the demonstrations and Police violence in general. We demanded from the Police to refrain from removing the demonstrators’ encampments. According to the Freedom of Information Law, we demanded to understand exactly by what procedure policemen take the liberty of photographing demonstrators. We suggested legal support to demonstrators who were harmed by the Police conduct. We shall not succumb, nor shall we be intimidated, before Police violence will be eradicated. Demonstrating is a Basic Right not to be harmed in any way, certainly not by applying fear and violence!

Following our demand, the Knesset Chairman announced commencing the procedure of assembling the committee for appointing a permanent Knesset Legal Counsel 

By the law, the Knesset Legal Counsel must be appointed within 45 days from the previous Counsel’s end of term. However, it hasn’t been materialized during the 100 days passed since Adv. Eyal Yinon concluded his term. Now, at last, incoming Knesset Chairman Yariv Levin announced an immediate establishing of a public committee for appointing a permanent Knesset Legal Counsel whose term will be long and steady in order to ensure legal counseling that will be strong, honest and independent enough as to not bend in front of power. It is profoundly regretful to realize that exactly in a time like the present, when there’s strong necessity to protect the Knesset’s status, its chairman chooses to avoid the clear law instructions for such a long time. So, we were forced to interfere and remind him his duties.

The Fake Profile Affair: A criminal investigation must be commenced

In his Facebook account Prime Minister Netanyahu published the profile named Dana Ron‘s comment that comprised a death threat to the PM. It is unclear whoever stands behind this totally fictitious profile which has been activated (as was discovered later on) from abroad. We call Attorney General Mandelblit and Police Acting Inspector General to commence a criminal investigation for locating the person who wrote the message due to its being an unlawful incitement that must be investigated. Moreover, the fraud of the fictitious and enigmatic profile must be exposed and the whole affair explained.

We addressed the Attorney General: It’s impossible to run a state from the defendants’ bench. You should order Netanyahu to suspend himself due to incapability to function properly given the commence of his trial’s evidentiary stage

Jerusalem District Court determined that starting January 2021 Prime Minister Netanyahu will be required to be present at the court in three whole days of each week. In the rest of the week days Netanyahu, with his attorneys, will have to get prepared to the evidentiary stage. That is to say, that starting January and until the verdict is determined the PM will be too engaged in these issues to genuinely run the government. We demanded from Attorney General Mandelblit to announce Netanyahu’s temporary incapability as Prime Minister – as long as the evidentiary stage of his trial is underway. Along the years, several prime ministers had left office temporarily, mainly for health reasons. The court had already determined, regarding Olmert’s criminal investigations, that there may be situations due to which the Attorney General would be able to announce a prime minister’s incapability. Israel deserves a full-time-job prime minister.

Appointing a “conditioned” Police Inspector General should be prohibited, certainly not in a time of so many public officials under investigations

Last year we petitioned the High Court of Justice in demand to have the Government explain its decision to end the term of (then) Police Inspector General Alsheich after just three years. Following, a discussion was held in which we related to the phenomenon of having no criteria relevant to extending the IG’s term and so this issue becomes a tool for politicians to use. There should be an unequivocal – and in advance – definition of the IG’s term of service. This term could not possibly be conditioned by the government’s changing moods; otherwise, the IG becomes the politicians’ “puppet on a string” and his fate is in their hands. Agreeing with our stance, the judges determined that the criteria and the duration of serving must be defined before the next IG’s appointment. This failed to happen in spite of the time passed and in spite of our repeating demands from Mandelblit and from the Ministry of Justice’s division of Advise and Legislation to prepare an opinion relating to the issue. We addressed also the (then) Ministers of Public Security, but to no avail. It was recently published that in spite of all, the present Minister of Public Security Ohana intends to appoint a Police Inspector General! We demanded from him and from all of the others to implement immediately – surly before appointing an IG – the High Court of Justice’s decisions.

We demanded from the Attorney General and the Police Acting Inspector General to initiate a criminal investigation against Minister Israel Katz and Knesset Member Miki Zohar for suspicion of conflict of interests

When a KM and a minister accuse each other of making decisions in situations of conflict of interests, checking the whole business is worthwhile. Out of Zohar’s and Katz’s words in the Knesset Finance Committee rises the suspicion that within their roles, these two have been acting in conflict of interests instead of acting for the Public good. If this is true, they actually embezzled their public service and breached the Public trust in a manner that might be regarded as criminal offense. We requested the General Attorney and the Inspector General to order an investigation. The discussion of the Finance Committee related to compensations for businesses damaged due to the Corona virus restrictions, mainly the amounts of compensations granted by the State to different business sectors. During the discussion, Minister Katz accused KM Zohar of having in mind his cousin’s interests as the owner of an assembly hall, while Zohar accused Katz of having in mind his wife’s businesses.

We Petitioned the Court: What had been done in Shlomi with hundreds of thousands of shekels destined to be given to at-risk families?

Following a message arrived at our call center it was allegedly revealed, that hundreds of thousands shekels destined for at-risk families project in Shlomi never reached their destination. A Ministry of Welfare committee found grave faults in the interaction of the Ministry and the Rashi Foundation, so that a police investigation commenced. Found inter alia were using that money by private factors, employing caregivers for fictitious receipts and dismissing one of the project’s caregivers who dared complaining about the irregularities. Submitting the examining report was followed by dismissing the project’s director and suspending the whole activity. Since we requested this report from the Ministry of Welfare and got no response, we petitioned according to the Freedom of Information Law in demand to receive the report and find out exactly what had happened there and where had the money gone.

More from the Movement Desk for this month

We petitioned the High Court of Justice against the Finance Committee’s decision to grant the Prime Minister a retroactive and personal exemption from taxation * We submitted an amended petition regarding the return of money that the Netanyahu couple received from Natan Milikovski * We submitted another petition concerning the Submarines Affair: A Freedom of Information petition to the Ministry of Finance about the affair and the issue of reciprocity purchase with Thyssenkrupp Company * We joined as responders to a petition against the Balfur demonstrations. We will present the demonstrators’ stance and we will claim the freedom of protesting! * Representing a whistleblower who was fired from a municipally owned company, we received a State Comptroller temporary protection order for him! * We contacted the Ministry of Environmental Protection about not publishing the annual report concerning the issue of reducing use of disposable bags * Once again, we demanded from Minister of Justice Nissenkorn to establish a Commission of Inquiry regarding the Ruth David Affair * Following our interfering, internal auditors were appointed in several local authorities that failed to do so before * We contacted the Knesset Committee concerning the unlawful departing of Rafi Peretz from Yamina faction * We submitted to the Ministry of Health an urgent demand of transparency in publishing the criteria relating to treating incomers from abroad during the time of Corona virus * We contacted the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Water Resources concerning the fact of not implementing the reform concerning the water corporations. This postponing costs millions of shekels per months to all of us * Once again we demanded to establish an inquiry commission regarding extreme deviations in purchase, in maintenance and in the conditions that were determined for purchasing an airplane for the Prime Minister; this affair’s complexity keeps growing * We contacted the State Comptroller about breaching instructions of a temporary protection order granted to a whistleblower when, in spite of the order, sums of money were unlawfully deducted from his wages and he was denied acceptance in his former office * We kept following the process of arriving at a decision in the case of a Ministry of Defense whistleblower * we caused commencing an inquiry in the Ministry of Education following a whistleblower’s complaint * We demanded criminal investigation against head of a local authority who continued pestering an employee-whistleblower who was granted a permanent protection order * This month too we continued with our efforts to advance the  ceremony of the President of Israel’s granting awards to whistleblowers * we demanded from the Knesset Members to vote for commencing an investigation committee concerning the Submarines Affair * The High Court of Justice ordered the State to respond until October 15 to our petition of demanding full investigation of the Submarines Affair * We participated in discussions of the Knesset Interior Committee concerning the bill allowing to hold council meetings by video platforms (following our notes relating to the law’s memo, the transparency element in the bill was enhanced and accentuated) * We participated in discussions and conferences relating to the State Comptroller Office’s reports: a conference about the Ombudsman’s report and a discussion at the State Control Committee in the Knesset about the State Comptroller’s report of the Local Government.