May 2020

May 2020 Activity Summary Report

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We petitioned the High Court of justice against the “Interchange Government” law

This alteration is about crushing the Israeli democratic method and modifying the governance’s basis, all in a flash and subject to “temporary legislation”, almost without any discussion or proper time for considerations and without enabling the Knesset members to participate and study this radical alteration. All was done not out of worthy reasons or the Public Interest but only for the sake of letting one defendant – namely Binyamin Netanyahu – escape his trial (and also out of other politicians’ temporary, petty political considerations). Obviously this is no way of applying such a profound legal change in the very being of the Israeli democratic system.

In addition to petitioning, we participated in meetings of the committee that discussed this unworthy legislation.

Information regarding Netanyahu’s flights abroad (for the cost of NIS 5.5 million) prior to the elections exposed due to our petition

Following our Freedom of Information petition we uncovered that Netanyahu’s three flights abroad prior to September elections cost the Public no less than 5,582,403 Israeli Shekels. Furthermore, these flights were not confirmed by the Government’s legal counseling but only by the Government as such. This case is even more serious given the suspicion that accomplished shortly before the elections these flights were used as propaganda for the sake of Candidate Netanyahu – e.g. photographing with various politicians of the countries he visited – and not for Israel’s political needs.

An achievement in the struggle against the cement monopoly concerning the rising housing prices

The high prices of apartments are due also to the high prices of cement in Israel, where the cement market is centralized and ruled by the monopoly of Nesher Company. Nesher acts intensively in order to prevent competition; recently a committee comprising elected officials discussed the possibility of renewing a 30% dumping tax that will put an end to any chance for competition or import in the cement market. We had been there to protect the Public Interest: we demanded that representatives of the Antitrust Authority will take part in the discussion, we introduced faults in the plan, we indicated contacts between Nesher‘s owner (who is also one of 13 TV network) and politicians, and more.

A PM who is a criminal defendant – the State of Israel is ashamed!

The unbelievable had happened this month – a functioning Israeli Prime Minister arrived at the Court as a defendant. We have been acting regarding this issue ever since the explosion of the relevant affairs, and more so recently: we petitioned the High Court of Justice against establishing a government by a defendant, against the unworthy arrangements fixed in the coalition agreements, and against the problematic laws advanced by this government. In addition, we held street demonstrations and hanged huge billboards above Ayalon Highway for the sake of protesting against a government led by a defendant. We protested also against establishing such an inflated government of 36 ministers in this time of crisis.

Backing up the cops against Minister Ohana’s threats

Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana tries to intimidate police cops and investigators. Channel 12 News recently published that Police seniors referred to the future possibility of investigating the PM regarding the Shares File Affair. Ohana demanded from the police Acting Inspector General “to do whatever it takes” in order to locate these seniors. Instead of protecting the Police representatives who just wish to accomplish their duty, Minister Ohana tries to discourage the Police from fulfilling its professional missions. We support the cops and their commanders and call them to continue acting by the law and without fear. We are committed to providing legal backing to every cop who will be harmed following the new minister’s threats.

We petitioned the High Court of Justice in demand to expose the PM’s Conflict of Interests Arrangements and specifically the connection to the Ministry of Public Security

A PM who is a criminal defendant appoints a Minister of Public Security who is supposed, among other things, to be in charge of the current police investigations against this very PM. This situation provides a clear legal prevention and so we demand the Attorney General to formulate a clear and defined Conflict of Interests Agreement with the PM and present it to the Public and the Knesset members. The Attorney General should determine that Netanyahu is prevented from deciding and from using the veto right regarding appointments in any context with which the PM is in a state of conflict of interests, among others the Ministries of Justice, Defense, Public Security and Communication, including appointing of judges, State Attorney, Police Inspector General and Major generals, Government’s Attorney General and Deputies. The Attorney General had already determined that Netanyahu must refrain from interfering with subjects and with professional appointments linked to the Ministries of Communication, Justice and Public Security due to the charges against him concerning their activities and the concealing of his conflict of interests from all of the relevant factors.

A few of the Movement’s recent actions regarding municipal issues

We submitted a Freedom of Information request concerning election funding in local authorities * We submitted to the Ministry of Interior a letter of principle and a position paper concerning appeal committees for residential property tax that are acting contrary to the Ministry of Interior’s directives * We won a petition against Ramat Hasharon Municipality and we received documents concerning an employee’s disciplinary offenses * We acted to advance appointing of internal auditors in local authorities * We succeeded in our demand to bring internal auditors back to work during the Coronavirus restrictions time * We acted for the sake of appointing treasurers in different local authorities * We have started an inquiry with ILA (Israel Land Authority) concerning Mevaseret Tsion lands that in the past were the location of an absorption center for immigrants from Ethiopian.

Some of our activities of supporting whistleblowers

We helped a whistleblower in a municipal corporation of a big local authority in central Israel * We protected a whistleblower in a local authority in central Israel during a hearing prior to his dismissal * We demanded from the State Comptroller and the Attorney General to order protection for a whistleblower who is an internal auditor in the north of the country * We have been engaged in preparing a comprehensive document for the use of Knesset members as the basis for bills concerning the prevention of harassing and the enhancement of protecting whistleblowers in workplaces * We helped an internal auditor of a local authority whose State Comptroller’s protection order had been violated * We helped an employee who exposed problematic handling of tenders and as a result was transferred to fill a lesser job and was ordered for a hearing prior to his dismissal.

More from the Movement’s desk for this month

We participated – and stated – in a discussion of our petition against the PM’s refusal to return $300,000 he received unlawfully and contrary to the Permits Committee’s decision * What’s up with Ruth David Affair? Upon his taking office, we demanded from the new Minister of Justice Avi Nissenkorn to establish a check committee: former Ministers of Justice Shaked and Ohana avoided our demand to investigate the Ruth David Affair. We hope that Nissenkorn will conduct otherwise * We demanded from the police to stop taking pictures of protestors in demonstrations and to let us know what had been done with these databases * We demanded from the Shabak (Israeli Security Agancy) to stop monitoring the citizens. Following, the monitoring indeed had been terminated * We demanded from Kahol-Lavan Party’s chairman to allocate Head of Committee roles also to members of opposition parties * We demanded from the government to discuss the report conclusions of Shamgar Committee for Captives and Missing Persons * We demanded from the Attorney General to initiate a decision in the legal cases of Ministers Litzman and Deri * We requested the Attorney General to examine the conflict of interests between Netanyahu and a prosecution witness who contributes money to him * According to information reached us, unauthorized factors in the (Islamic) Shari’a Courts use to unlawfully exempt certain persons from paying fees. We submitted a Freedom of Information request to inquire the issue * We submitted a Freedom of Information request concerning Villa Schocken estate nearby the PM’s house in Jerusalem * We submitted a Freedom of Information request concerning assets in USA that belong to the State of Israel but are registered in the name of Netanyahu * Corona restrictions eased due to the financial crisis: we requested to ease the conditions of paying residential property taxes and to ease taxing when withdrawing money from provident funds * Freedom of Information requests due to the financial conduct of the Coronavirus crisis: we requested the PM’s Office, the Government Secretariat and the Ministry of Finance to expose protocols and documents by which the various financial decisions had been accepted * We contacted the Attorney General and the Knesset Chairman due to publications concerning unlawful hiding of coalition money promised to different parties in return for supporting the coalition * We requested the Commissioner of the Capital Market to expose information about decision making processes concerning the participation of institutional investors in raising Tshuva’s and Delek Group’s latest capital raising.