June 2019

June 2019 Activity Summary Report

We petitioned the High Court of Justice: Why does the Attorney General hide information from the public? We demand to publish the State Prosecutor’s opinion regarding files 1000 and 2000

Several months ago the Attorney General released the document of suspicions against PM Netanyahu, a document that had been the basis for the AG’s decision to prosecute the PM, subject to hearing, in files 1000, 2000 and 4000. Alongside this release, the AG issued his reasoned decision in which he stated that in 1000 and 2000 files he disputed with the State Prosecutor and other factors regarding the question which offenses of the PM’s will lead to his prosecution (subject to hearing). Some senior officials, headed by State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and Tel Aviv District Attorney (Taxation and Economics) Liat Ben-Ari Shweki, hold the opinion that PM Netanyahu should be prosecuted due to bribery offenses in these files. Contrary to this outlook, the Attorney General decided to define a much less severe offense – fraud and breach of trust. Though in his decision he did mention those controversies, the AG chose not to publish the State Prosecutor’s and the other factors’ reasons. Our petition pointed out the clear legal ruling that obliges him to do exactly what he did not do. There’s more to it: hiding such critical information at a time so close to the elections is inflicting serious harm on the public. More of the PM Affairs: We petitioned in demand to start a Contempt of Court procedure against the PM due to his refusal to fulfill the High Court of Justice’s ruling according to which he should submit materials that were asked by the committee in charge of examining his request to let him have donations in order to finance his legal expenses. Following our contact, the AG pledged not to postpone the PM’s hearing once more, even if he (the PM) will use the trick of his advocates’ resigning at the last minute. In another application to the AG we demanded not to allow the PM to serve as Minister of Communications: in the past we had petitioned the High Court regarding this very issue and then the PM indeed gave up this office on the background of the AG’s opinion stating that the PM should not be involved in many issues relating to the Communications Ministry due to the fear of conflict of interests and to his contacts with Shaul Elovitch, one of the strongest persons in the Israeli communication field.

Following our application, a Minister of Communication was indeed appointed.


Demanding to establish a special committee for coping with work accidents

Another accident in a construction site, another worker severely wounded hardly 24 hours following a similar disaster: it’s high time such accidents are being treated! This is a true epidemic – accidents happen weekly, at times even daily. Following the tragedy of four workers being killed, last month we demanded from Minister of Labor, Welfare and Social Services Haim Katz to establish a special committee for examining the conduct of his Ministry’s supervision array. The answer we received this month explained that from the time this array was moved from the Labor department’s responsibility to that of the Welfare’s department, the Ministry initiated – and continues initiating – meaningful reforms in order to intensify supervision, enforcement and legislation regarding work accidents”. According to this reply, it is indeed about not a few reforms. In reality, however, one can easily notice this is probably not enough. In its response the Ministry declared its full awareness of the faulty security culture in work contexts, especially in construction sites. Still – if reforms, legislation and other activities make no change, the establishing of a special committee for the sake of a fundamental treatment seems unavoidable.

Forbidden campaign of Blue-White party?

Following our appeal to the public to inform us of any suspicion of forbidden elections campaign, we received information relating to fixing campaign posters on bridges over Ayalon Highway between Rishon Le’tzion and Glilot junction. We demanded from BW leaders Beni Gantz and Yair Lapid to remove those posters ad hoc for fear of forbidden campaign: according to law, using of public assets for elections campaign is prohibited at any time all year round. Built with public money, these bridges are state assets administered by a government owned and financed corporation. According to the same law it is also forbidden to place posters of elections campaign by any means other than assigned outdoor advertising devices and only from 90 days and on prior to elections day. BW’s posters were placed before the permitted time.

We clarified to the Knesset’s chairman: if the Knesset’s dissolution is cancelled, the task of forming a government will be assigned to a Knesset member who had not failed in this mission yet

After the unbelievably rapid self-dissolution of the 21st Knesset, several factors seem to regret the act at no lower speed and wish to cancel it. Though the legal issue is not clear yet, one thing is absolutely obvious: once the law of the Knesset’s dissolution is canceled, the mandate of forming the government should be given to any Knesset Member who hasn’t failed in this mission during the short-lived 21st Knesset, meaning: any KM who is not Binyamin Netanyahu. This is determined unequivocally by Basic Law: The Government. We demanded from Yuli Edelstein, chairman of the Knesset, and Adv. Eyal Yinon, the Knesset Legal Counsel, that the mandate for forming a government will be transferred to a Knesset Member other than Netanyahu. The latter failed to form the 35th government within the period of time allotted by law; if the mandate is granted to him once again it would mean disregarding a Basic Law and a blow to the whole democratic system since the coalition negotiations will be prolonged well over the time allotted and even after the Knesset’s dissolution. Instead of acting by the law, there will be a Basic Law turns fluid and being subjected to politicians’ interests.

Is there an attempt to thwart the promotion of the advocate who administered the PM’s files?

A recent release informed that the tender for the office of Deputy State Attorney (for economic enforcement) has been frozen. This happened following an anonymous contact claiming that the involvement of State Attorney Shai Nitzan in the assignment is inappropriate since his office will end in December. However, while freezing this tender other tenders, for senior offices as well, keep going on as usual and without any problem. Consequently, it’s easy to fear that the real problem is that one of the candidates for the job is advocate Liat Ben Ari, who on behalf of the State Attorney’s office administered the PM’s files. Here there is a true suspicion of an attempt to cause a “targeted assassination” of the assignment. We contacted the Civil Service Commission urgently and demanded to cancel ad hoc the tender’s freezing.

El’ad Municipality corruption affair

During the recent months the Movement offices received notices from El’ad citizens in which they referred to alleged corruption of senior employees of the local municipality. The information was backed up by correspondences, documents and evidences, all of which reached the Municipality first, where they were ignored. Since we never keep silent when confronting the suspicion of harming integrity, we had initiated an in-depth research, lasting for several months, in order to understand what it was all about – how deep the (alleged) corruption penetrated and by what means. Further on we complained to the State Attorney office and filed a complaint with the police. The current month the police announced starting an open investigation against some of the Municipality senior employees: arresting four suspects, including a member of the city council and an employee who is a close associate of the Mayor, and detaining three others suspected of receiving bribe money in return for biasing tenders and assisting unlawfully in granting building permits.

More from the Movement’s desk for this month

The High Court of Justice considered our petition demanding to order the Minister of Finance to remove Doron Uzan from serving as chairman of Sharonim regional planning and building committee. According to the petition, Minister Mosheh Kahlon appointed his close associate who is a Kulanu party’s activist to a senior position.

A great victory for the whistleblower of Tveria Municipality!

The State Comptroller decided to grant a protective order to Beni Eliyahu, internal auditor of Tveria Municipality (and also Knight of Government Quality laureate), together with ordering special financial compensation for the mental anguish caused to him. During the many years of his serving as the internal auditor of Tveria Municipality, Eliyahu has never ceased acting for the sake of proper administration in spite of harassments he experienced during the former Mayor’s term and the even harsher harassments over the last year, including personal defamations by the newly elected Mayor. As if this was not enough, people at the municipality issued an instruction that forbids collaborating with Eliyahu and orders to refrain from handling him documents and other materials (which is strictly a breach of law). At some point, also his access to the municipality’s computers was blocked. We accompanied Eliyahu throughout all stages of the long and complex procedure at the State Comptroller’s and now we welcome the change that at last starts to show in this dark affair.