Annual Summary of 2014 – Legal Activities
The Legal Department; Research and Economic Department; Legislation and Policy Department
The year 2014 constitutes a peak year in various aspects of the Movement’s legal activities, regarding the proceedings and issues that have been dealt with, the range of achievements and their impact, the income derived from legal activities and from the aspect of the waves these legal activities made in the media and the number of appearances in the media following these legal activities.
The number of legal proceedings filed in court in 2014: 52
The number of additional legal proceedings that were handled in 2014 after they were filed in previous years: 23
A total of 75 legal actions were handled, and many additional cases were handled by means of correspondence and proceedings before various legislative parties such as measures to protect the exposure of corruption, legislation proceedings, actions to protect public assets and more.
The number of cases that have reached the public inquiries system in 2014: approx. 1,200
The sum of legal costs ruled in favor of the Movement in 2014: 310,400 NIS
Most of the cases ended with complete or partial success, amending the faults and creating broad legal norms for advancing the quality of government and proper governence.
The following is a review of some select examples of proceedings, actions and main accomplishments:
The campaign against the gas monopoly
The Movement is faught to promote competition in the natural gas sector and to minimize damage caused by the monopoly to every household, the industry the economy in general and to the general public. The Movement filed an objection (detailed pleadings approximately 100 pages long) to the decision of the Antitrust Commissioner Prof. David Gilo to file an agreed order to the Antitrust Tribunal that would allow the existence of a restrictive agreement between the gas partnerships in the “Leviathan” gas field and fortify the gas monopoly they created under the protection of legislative omissions. In addition the Movement has also thoroughly responded to the statement of the gas partnerships to the objection that was filed by us. In the end, the continuous struggle was fruitful and the commissioner accepted the Movement’s position in December 2014 almost in its entirety, and retracted from his consent to the order (subject to a hearing) and expressed his clear position against the existence and strengthening of this strong monopoly.
Following this, the Movement is acting vis-à-vis the Petroleum Commissioner whose omissions have allowed the creation of the monopoly, giving extraordinary benefits to the gas partnerships, inter alia in freedom of information petitions and in the High Court of Justice.
The campaign for equality in the duty to enlist
After the petitions of the Movement to the cancellation of the Tal law, the Movement filed a petition to cancel the “Shaked Law” in light of the discrimination that it created. An order to show cause was granted and the petition is pending.
The campaign to have former elected individuals stand trial for their criminals
A petition was filed against the decision not to examine the evidence in Shula Zaken’s testimony against Olmert and to not to sign a State’s witness agreement with her to ensure that her testimony is heard in court and that the evidence that she has is produced. The petition was dismissed however the testimony was heard in the framework of arguments made before sentencing in the Holy Land Case and in the appeal in the Envelopes Case, as we demanded.
The campaign to remove convicted criminals from government
The Movement assisted in forming a bill amending the Basic Law: the Government (competency to serve as a member of government or deputy minister convicted of a shameful offence) which has passed the preliminary call (after it passed in the assembly but not by the majority required for amending a Basic Law). A petition was filed by the Movement against the appointment of Zahi Hanegbi as deputy minister since he was convicted of perjury, the petition was dismissed.
The campaign to oust mayors who have been criminally accused
Following the Movement’s petition a mechanism was arranged in the law to suspend the head of a local authority in the event that an indictment was submitted against him through the committee. The Movement has also acted in order to implement the law and to have the mayors of Upper Nazareth, Bat Yam and Ramat Hasharon indicted.
The campaign to have corrupt individuals stand trial
The petition against the plea bargain that was signed with Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto. The petition was dismissed however the judges were very critical of the way the State attorney’s and general attorney handled the case.
The campaign for property functioning of the Knesset and the Government
A petition to appoint the chairman of the Foreign and Defense Committee- following which an order to show cause was granted as requested and a chairman was appointed. Following repeated requests of the Movement the Knesset established a national legislation database. Attacking a permit that was given by the Antitrust Commissioner to business competitors to act jointly vis-a-vis government authorities. During the year we were told that our main comment was accepted and was put into the new manifesto. Advancing a new and extensive ethical code for Knesset members and an ethical code for members of the government. Leading a campaign for transparency of the voting in the Ministers Committee for Legislative Matters.
The campaign for the right to demonstrate
Following an appeal of the Movement the Supreme Court cancelled the Movement’s high payment charge for the demonstration at Rabin square and he accepted the position of the Movement regarding the importance of the right to demonstrate.
The campaign against improper tenders
We have filed a series of 2 claims to cancel a tender to appoint an orthodox district manager at the Ministry of Education, as a result of reducing the threshold requirements. The first petition led to the cancellation of the tender and payment of the Movement’s costs in the sum of 10,000 NIS. A new and improved tender was published however it also had extraordinary terms, against which we filed a second lawsuit which is pending.
The campaign against improper tenders at local authorities
The Movement’s petition against a fixed tender at the Rishon Lezion Municipality which led to the cancellation of the tender. A petition of the Movement against the appointment of the Education Department’s manager in I’billin without meeting the threshold terms led to its cancelation and 6,000 NIS was ruled in favor of the Movement. The judgment was approved in the appeal.
The campaign to arrange for the appointment of external legal advisors in local authorities
Following a petition of the Movement a procedure has been issued that regulates and prevents appointing advisors as political and personal pay and anarchy in determining their legal fees. Costs in the sum of 12,000 NIS were ruled in favor of the Movement.
The campaign for freedom of information in local authorities
Parallel to a list of motions and petitions of freedom of information a broad project was performed to enforce the legal duty to publish a report regarding freedom of information in websites of the authorities, following dozens of requests and 6 petitions the reports were published and 26,255 NIS was ruled in favor of the Movement as a refund of costs. Forming a bill to amend the Municipalities Ordinance (publishing the reports of the municipality’s auditor in the internet site) that was placed before the Knesset.
The campaign for collecting debts of elected officials at local authorities
Following the Movement’s petition against a local authority most of the debts were collected and the membership of one of the public officials in the council was disqualified. 11,975 NIS was ruled in favor of the Movement as legal costs.
The campaign to strengthen members of the local authorities council
Formulating bills to amend legislation placed before the Knesset and participation in meetings to advance them.
The campaign to protect public assets
Following the Movement’s struggle with Adam Teva V’din to obtain information regarding the arbitration before the State and the Dead Sea Works, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of the Dead Sea Works since this was a dispute that had clear public characteristics, and it ruled in favor of the Movement costs in the sum of 30,000 NIS. Following an objection to the plan to “Clear the Dolphinarium Site” following which the local committee would be forced to re- examine the disproportional difference between the rights that the entrepreneur has today and the right that he will receive after the plan is approved.
The campaign to protect public funds
Receiving a final judgment regarding the Investment Center case which contains agreements with respect to the center’s conduct. Thus, substantial progress was made in respect to managing the information at the center, progress regarding the transparency of the conduct and the documentation of adopting the decisions. The Movement won costs in the sum of 35,000 NIS.
A petition was filed against the Supervisor of the Banks for not responding to our requests and demands to investigate the conduct of the banks and officers in them with respect to giving credit to IDB. The petition is pending. A first class action was filed for missing and misleading statements of a public company (Dori Construction) after additional lawsuits were filed by shareholders the Movement’s lawsuit was dismissed, however we shall continue to follow the case.
A sub-committee was established to the financial committee for the investigation of regulatory failures in IDB, following the circulation of a document that was drafted by the Movement which lists approximately 22 regulatory failures in this matter.
The campaign against the cost of living
The Movement has accompanied discussions and was the force behind advancing a bill with respect to reducing the agricultural exemption in the Antitrust Law, an exemption that contributed to the absence of competition in this sector of the economy and it gave unprecedented advantages to parties that are not agricultural (such as distributors). The Movement acted against various parties with respect to the rise of the cost of living in the field of food, and especially in prices of agricultural produce and it acted with respect to improper conduct of the standards institute.
The campaign to implement citizens’ rights
Refunding old age stipends for the self- employed at the National Insurance Institution that were denied contrary to the law, following the Movement’s request. Thus changes were made in the application form for old age stipends and training shall take place for clerks of the institution in this matter.
Activities of the Movement led to the publication of a report of the State Comptroller regarding the issue of “Database of Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries and from Iran” and a discussion took place in the State Audit Committee in the Knesset regarding the omissions in this issue.
The campaign to protect those exposing corruption
Legislating the State Comptroller Law (Amendment – Expanding the Term Act of Corruption) that was worded by the Movement. The Movement even formulated amendments to amend additional statutes and acted to advance them. Following the requests of the Movement, the President of the State shall give certificates of recognition to those exposing corruption, in accordance with his authority in the law, for the first time since the establishment of the State, one of the two recipients is Shaul Carmeli who exposed corruption at the Haifa port, whom the Movement recommended before the president to receive the certificate of recognition.
The Movement has assisted in the struggle of Rafi Rotem who exposed corruption at the Tax Authority to receive a protection order from the State Comptroller and to investigate the corruption. The Movement has accompanied and assisted other exposers of corruption, with legal counseling, in proceedings before the State Comptroller in hearing proceedings and more.