November 2021

November 2021 Activity Summary Report

Demanding to establish the State Commission of Inquiry for the Submarines and Watercrafts Affair!

It is imperative to put pressure on the government not to bury this grave affair! We managed to bring to the government’s table the proposal of establishing a state commission of inquiry for this affair.  The issue is now in Bennett’s hands – we expect him to act for the good of the national interest by immediately advance the commission’s establishing. We call all of the government’s members to vote for this act, since the Commission will investigate all the different affairs involved in the Submarines and Watercrafts Affair. We call them to prove that they regard the State’s security as prior to all else. Thousands of citizens joined us and signed the struggle petition.

Enough of the political appointments! We petitioned the Supreme Court due to confirming Amir Peretz’s appointment as chairman of IAI board

This appointment had been completed through a maneuver that bypassed the Appointments Committee and the Directors Team. So far, no government had acted against any of the Committee’s decisions since its establishing nearly 30 years ago. The Committee published a detailed and comprehensive opinion determining that Peretz’s appointment must be cancelled due to his distinct political affinity for ministers in the current government. The committee also noted that Peretz lacked the “special skills” needed in the case of a candidate with such a strong political affinity and that in particular he lacked the proper skills needed for running a business company of such a magnitude as the Israeli Aerospace Industry. Gantz and Lieberman decided to include the issue of the appointment in the government’s meeting in spite the Committee’s opinion and the fact of Peretz’s absence from the Team of Directors, which is one more mechanism designated to protect us from political appointments. Lieberman also spoke inappropriately to the Committee’s members.

We asked to participate in the legal procedure concerning Haim Katz: Disgrace must be imposed!

The Attorney General ignored his authority and his obligation to represent the Public Interest and signed an exceptionally relieving plea bargain that lacked the request to impose disgrace on Haim Katz. We therefore asked the Court to attach us to the procedure in the status of “amicus curiae” (Friend of the Court). In our message we detailed the reasons for the Court’s obligation to impose disgrace on Knesset Member Katz, in particular due to the special circumstances of his committing the offense while he served as a committee’s chairman in the Knesset. The indictment against Katz describes a corrupt conduct that is linked to crony capitalism (cronyism, capital-government relations). In addition, while the immunity of Katz as KM was discussed in the Knesset Committee, Mandelblit himself expanded on the gravity of Katz’s acts!

We petitioned the Supreme Court: Why are there no obliging ethical rules for the ministers?

Physicians, judges, teachers, journalists, psychologists, even member of the Knesset – all are obliged by ethical codes. So how come that the Prime Minister, the ministers, and deputy ministers in Israel, are exempt from obeying rules of discipline and ethics? Established already in 2006, Shamgar Committee was designated to formulate ethical rules for the government members. Faithful to its mission, the Committee submitted its recommendations to the government, determining clear rules relating to what was allowed and forbidden, normative and exceeds the norm in the government members’ conduct. Later on there was a change of governments and instead of confirming Shamgar Committee’s recommendations, the new government decided to establish the Ne’eman Committee that comprised ministers headed by then Minister of Justice Ya’akov Ne’eman. Though this committee softened the former committee’s recommendations, nothing changed then either. After no less than 15 years of dragging feet by all of the governments, and due to the distinct public interest in applying rules of ethics to ministers and deputy ministers, we petitioned the Supreme Court in request to interfere and order the government members to discuss the application of the rules of ethics to themselves and to all future governments.

An important achievement: The NYC ambassador’s apartment, that was registered in Netanyahu’s name, will be put on the market and so about NIS 37 million will be returned into the public coffers

In spite its being a State property by law, somehow the grand apartment in Manhattan has been for years registered in the name of Netanyahu, who served as Israel Ambassador to the UN during the 1980’s. We have been closely following this issue for years; inter alia, we had submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an attempt to understand why registering the apartment in the name of the State has been delayed for such a long time. Now at last, after 35 years, it is happening: the apartment has been put on the market and its cost – about $12 million – will be returned to the public coffers.

An achievement: We succeeded to block the conflict of interest – whoever had been involved in the Submarines Affair will not take part in the process of establishing the commission of inquiry

In the recent month we requested from the Attorney General to order Shalom Shlomo, the Government Secretary who is also known as Bennett’s confidante, to refrain from interfering in the process of establishing a State Commission of Inquiry for the Submarines and Watercrafts Affair. Various media publications reveal that he apparently was involved in the Submarines and Watercrafts Affair and also testified within the police investigation procedures. Our request was positively responded and we were informed that indeed Shlomo will not take part in establishing the Commission.

We demonstrated in front of the Knesset: Demanding to establish the Ethics Committee!

The Opposition is an integral part of the government in Israel. Then why doesn’t it work? The Ethics Committee is a combination of a court and a legal counsel of the Knesset members and for the Knesset members. The Committee discusses issues such as absences from the plenum, questionable travels abroad, speaking in an inappropriate manner, etc. The State Audit Committee discusses the reports issued by the State Comptroller and the Ombudsman; it also discusses laws relating to proper administration and to corruption and on the whole it is the factor that checks the state institutes and the ministries. This committee is legally defined as the committee of the Opposition. These two committees have not been operating for more than a half year now due to the Opposition’s refusal to appoint its representatives to them. All out of a political game, this situation only hurts the Public. Time and again, the Opposition shuts down valuable governmental functions, ignoring its duty of serving the Public and act as legislators and supervisors of the Executive. We arrived at the Knesset and presented a protest performance against those Knesset Members who for over 7 months now have been refusing to establish these significant committees.

Demanding from the Attorney General to start a criminal investigation against KM Gafni in the suspicion of incitement following his calling the Prime Minister “a traitor”   

We demanded from the AG to investigate KM Mosheh Gafni’s expression of “Bennett betrays the State of Israel”. Gafni voiced this grave statement no less than three times during an interview published in Kikar Hashabat internet site even after the interviewer found it necessary to make sure that Gafni really meant what he said. Also in this interview Gafni said that PM Bennett was “a man of the most inferior breed”. Allowing the blood of a prime minister in such a way had already led to the assassination of one, but Gafni has proven that the lesson has not been learnt. In a democratic regime criticism is a necessity, but expressions such as these of Gafni’s might be considered severe criminal incitement. The Penal Code provides for a prison sentence of 5 years for inciting to violence. Since KM Gafni functions as chairman of a political party, the harming potential of his sayings have got extra power, as has got his ability to influence his voters and incite them to violence. We hope that the AG understands the seriousness of the issue and will order to implement a criminal investigation with no delay.

The Attorney General embraces the Movement’s stance, and determines: Netanyahu must return the forbidden gifts he received from his associates!

The AG sent his formal reference to the Movement’s petition against the Permits Committee regarding the forbidden loan Netanyahu received from his cousin, the late Natan Milikovski. The AG determined that the loan had been given illegally (“A Forbidden Gift”) so that Netanyahu must return the $ 300,000 to Milikovski’s estate. The AG further argued, that the Loan Netanyahu received from Partridge should be considered a benefit due to the understanding that this loan was a basis for a grant disguised as a loan and therefore should be regarded as a forbidden gift. To remind – the Supreme Court issued a conditional order due to our petition against the Permits Committee concerning the money Netanyahu illegally received from his associates. The State had to explain why the “gift” Netanyahu received from his cousin will not be returned and why Netanyahu did not address the Permits Committee in the case of receiving a NIS 2 million “loan” from Partridge.

We demand an examination: Why did Minister Shaked approved an expedited procedure for her personal friend to build thousands of housing units?

The Marker published that Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked, allegedly under conflict of interest, advanced a building plan in favor of businessman Barak Rosen, CEO of Israel Canada Group. Rosen is Minister Shaked’s personal friend, who not once hosted her in his private events and in the past offered her the job of chairperson of the public company Canbit. According to the publication, it is about an announcement of the Ministerial Committee on Home Affairs, Services, Planning and Local Government – headed by Shaked – concerning 17 areas to be granted expedited procedures in the National Planning and Building Council for areas preferred for housing. According to estimates, the financial value of this decision may reach tens of millions of NIS and even more. The publication includes a quote on Shaked’s behalf, explicitly clarifying that Rosen had been included in the Minister’s conflict of interest agreement which has been prepared in the Legal Bureau and is supposed to be signed soon. The agreement specifies that Shaked will not deal with Rosen’s affairs and will refrain from making decisions relating to lands owned by him – as far as she is aware of them. Even if Minister Shaked claims that she was not aware of significant land reserves owned by Israel Canada Group in the area, this claim is not possibly satisfying. We requested the Attorney General and the Police Inspector General to initiate a checkup in order to find out whether minister Shaked indeed was not aware of this alleged conflict of interest. On the face of it, the Minister’s conduct might be considered offenses of fraud and breach of trust. A checkup is needed in order to remove the doubts hovering over Minister Shaked.

We turned to the Commissioner of the Capital Market: Do not abandon the pension funds to the hands of billionaire Alfred Akirov

Akirov symbolizes the capital-government relations: he is the controlling shareholder in Alrov Group, a real estate development company, whose value is estimated at about NIS 3 billion. This is the same Akirov who is known for having close relations with political power centers. He is a close associate of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and in the past he did not deny his consent to employ Shula Zaken “on any excuse” in order to secure her keeping silent in Olmert Affairs. According to publications, Akirov now wishes to gain control of Clal Insurance Company – the third largest insurance company in Israel considering managed pension funds, a company that manages about NIS 220 billion that fully belong to the public. So, what does Akirov intend to do about the purchase of Clal Insurance? According to the publications he wishes to grant his son, Georgi Akirov, the company’s management although the son has got no satisfactory experience for handling such a role. We argued to Mosheh Bareket, the Commissioner of the Capital Market, that inspecting Alfred Akirov’s suitability as candidate for receiving a control permit shows distinctively that this request must not be accepted. Giving a control permit in Clal Insurance Company to Akirov will constitute the abandonment of the money of pension savers and of the entire public. Doing so will be a severe blow to the efforts of long time to reduce the centralization in the economy and to enhance the competition. Clal Insurance is not a family business – it is a public company in need of a professional management!

Following the recording: We demand to start a criminal investigation against Nir Chefetz and Nochi Dankner

We demanded from the Attorney General, the State Attorney and the commander of 433 police unit to re-open an investigation against Nir Chefetz and Nochi Dankner due to offenses of extortion by threats and of conspiracy. According to the media, the police investigators found in Chefetz’s home a recording of a discussion summary of “Nochi Dankner’s demand to publish an investigation against Eliad Shraga (Chairman of the Movement for Quality Government). As of the end of 2010, the Movement acted to dismantling the control pyramids in the Israeli economy, decentralizing the economy and enhancing the competition. At that time, Dankner the billionaire purchased Maariv newspaper, appointed Chefetz its editor and started using it as a weapon against people whom he identified as threatening the centralization method through which he secured his economic power. Dankner and Chefetz identified the Movement for Quality Government and its leader Adv. Eliad Shraga as factors threatening their enormous economic power. Therefore, in 2012 Maariv launched an unprecedented aggressive campaign against the Movement in general and Adv. Shraga in particular in order to defame both. This hideous campaign did not come as a surprise – it was preceded by a “friendly conversation” in IDB offices (IDB – a holding company then controlled by Dankner). This meeting, that comprised Adv. Shraga, Dankner, and other persons, was an attempt to extort Shraga: it was made clear to him that if he dealt with the issue of centralization and act against IDB’s interest, the group would act “to destroy him”. Over the years since, we had been filing several grievances against Dankner and Hefetz but to our regret they all had been closed for different reasons. Hopeless as we were about the possibility of the police ever getting to investigating the persecution and harassment we had experienced on the part of Dankner and Hefetz, this month we revealed that the police hold golden evidence, such that requires a reopening of the investigation. Reporter Gidi Weitz published in Haaretz newspaper an article about the past actions of Nir Chefetz, who since then had become a state witness in File 4000. Weitz reported that “the police investigators found in Chefetz’s home a recording of a discussion’s summary of Dankner’s demand to publish an investigation against Eliad Shraga (the ginger). When edited by Chefetz, Maariv was indeed drafted into a fierce war against the Movement for Quality Government’s Chairman who was fighting the economic centralization. At the same time attempts were made to defame the leaders of the Social Protest that threatened the landlord’s status”.