November 2022

November 2022 Activity Summary Report

The Submarines Affair: Why is the Investigation Committee’s activity performed under confidentiality and contrary to the principle of publicity stipulated in the Committee’s mandate?

Relating to the activity of the State Committee of Inquiry for the Submarines Affair, we contacted Judge Asher Grunis, Chairman of the Committee, and its Director Adv. Hosheah Gottlieb. A reminder: Now 10 months since the establishing of the Committee, the testimonial stage and the actual investigative activity have not yet started. According to information arrived at the Movement, the Committee has been summoning former seniors of the security establishment for “initial interview” whose status and legal validity are unclear. Moreover, these interviews have been conducted under full confidentiality, a fact that contradicts the principle of publicity as was stipulated in the Committee’s mandate at the time of its establishment. In the letter we noted our fear that extraneous considerations were the reason for the Committee’s foot-dragging. The rationale for establishing the Committee was based on the issue of Harming the Public Trust. This issue is still ongoing and even intensifies.

Aryeh Deri is not fit to be a minister!

We continue in full power the struggle against appointing the twice-convicted criminal Aryeh Deri as a minister in the government. In November we contacted the Government’s Attorney General in order to clarify that since Deri has a presumption of disgrace, he should not be appointed (this contact in November precede petitions of the same subject that will be submitted to the High Court in December). Our petition of struggle has been signed already by tens of thousands of citizens; this added to the Movement’s night mission of installing protest signs reminding the public that Deri’s two convictions of severe offenses are the reason of his being unworthy to be appointed minister. We asked the Attorney General to explain to Deri and to those who are about to form the government that with having a presumption of disgrace, Deri is prohibited from being appointed a minister in that very government. We also asked her to make it known to everyone that Deri’s appointment as a minister must be preceded by submitting to the Central Elections Committee’s Chairman an appeal to remove the disgrace.

An achievement that will save the public about ILS100 million a year! The Supervision of Banks embraced our recommendation concerning the routes of current accounts in the banks

We asked the Supervision of Banks to act for ordering the banks to enable an automatic switch to the cheapest current account route for each client. We have now been informed that the Supervision of Banks has indeed announced its intention to act this way by issuing a new directive to the banks aiming at reducing the scope of current accounts fees charged to their clients. The banking system evaluates a reduction of about ILS100 million in their incomes from fees per year due to this directive.

The Police must be independent. NO to subordinating the Inspector General to politicians! NO to Ben-Gvir’s takeover of the Police!

In the coalition agreements there is a plan of letting Ben-Gvir – instead of the Inspector General – control the Police’s strategy outlining. By this Knesset Member Ben-Gvir will actually administer the police budget-wise and policy-wise, down to the level of mobilizing forces and focusing on missions. Such rough interference in the Police functioning is unthinkable: the role of the Police is to defend the whole of the citizens of Israel and so this institution must be independent, otherwise the state’s democracy will be fatally harmed. We explained our point of view in this issue to all the elected officials. We also contacted the Inspector General concerning his wish to meet with Ben-Gvir during the Coalition negotiation in November and prior to appointing Ben-Gvir to any ministerial position; we explained to the Inspector General that as a civil servant he is prevented from meeting with Ben-Gvir as long as the coalition negotiations continue.

NO to politicization of the legal advice

Apropos the upcoming coalition agreements, the media published that there was a dangerous demand to turn the roles of legal advisors from professional to positions of trust. Already submitted in the past, this proposal will turn the legal advisor position into a political one – advisors on-behalf-of. Supporters of the proposal claim that the modification will improve the relations between appointed ministers and legal advisors but de facto it is about a complete crushing of the legal advisor’s status as an independent professional, erasing the role of the gatekeeper and turning the advisor into a yes-man/woman of the relevant minister. A legal advisor must be a professional who is responsible to secure the independence of the Rule of Law.

EAPC: You polluted? You are promoted! The Movement’s night protest activity in the south of the country

Our activists carried out a night activity of protestation during which they installed protest placards on the roads leading to EAPC (Europe Asia Pipeline Company) facility south of Ashkelon. The placards referred to the continuation of employing two of the Company’s managers – Shlomo Levi and Nir Savion – who were convicted of being responsible for the Tzin river pollution in 2011. It is about a grave criminal conviction that was followed by the Court’s sharp criticism of the malfunction that led to one of the most significant ecological disasters in Israel’s history. It is improbable for a large government company as this one to be run by people convicted of crimes.  

Exposing the lobbyists: We succeeded in leading a move for enhancing the supervision and transparency of lobbying in all of the government ministries

Lobbyists and “machers” – those commercial intermediaries – act to promote agendas of corporations and tycoons vis-à-vis elected officials and decision makers. Several years ago we succeeded to pass in the Knesset the “Lobbyists Law” for limiting their activity in the Knesset, yet there are still substantial loopholes regarding their activity in the ministries. Thanks to our stubborn efforts and our repeated requests from the Attorney General and the Civil Service Commissioner to regulate restrictions in the directives and the disciplinary rules, and after consulting us as part of the work of the headquarter for regulating procedures of supervising and reviewing the lobbyists activities in all of the government authorities – it was announced that the Deputy Attorney General Dr. Gil Limon had published the procedure for the various government offices to comment on.

We submitted a complaint against rabbi Yitzchak Yosef due to forbidden political intervention

According to the media rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, a judge at the Great Rabbinical Court, while lecturing in his weekly classes intervened in sheer political matters related to the coalition negotiation. He was recorded referring to the political identity of whoever will be appointed Minister of Religious Services and also handing Aryeh Deri “missions” to be advanced by Shas party in the government. This information presents a worrisome reality of a rabbi who uses his power as a judicial factor of supreme authority for political activity aimed at intervening in the government’s activity and in the legislation and also in order to influence the coalition negotiation and the distribution of positions – all out of political reasons. Consequently, we submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman of the Israeli Judiciary, asking him to clarify the issue and bring to an end this man’s tenure as a judge in the Rabbinical Court.

We demand to suspend Effi Naveh from the Israel Bar Association!

The Court sentenced Effi Naveh, the defendant in the Border Crossing Case, to two months of probation and a fine. According to the Movement’s view, regarding the circumstances of his committing the offenses Naveh must be disgraced and suspended ad hoc from the Israel Bar Association. This person acted deceitfully and covertly against the Israeli authorities and inter alia was convicted of the grave offense of obtaining something fraudulently while trying to use his position and his status as defense claims in order to escape the threat of judgment. Hence, in order to deter civil servants from committing crimes and for keeping the Civil Service image clean, disgracing Naveh and punishing him by suspense from IBA are required and necessary steps.

Does the Civil Service Commissioner intervene for the sake of Netanyahu’s close associate?

We contacted the Civil Service Commissioner, the Government Attorney General and the latter’s Deputy for Public-Administrative Law following media worrisome reports concerning forbidden intervention out of political considerations of the above mentioned Commissioner in a proper dismissal procedure carried out by authorized factors in the Prime Minister office. According to Haim Levinson’s publication in Ha’aretz daily newspaper, Netanyahu’s head of staff asked from the Commissioner Danial Herschkowitz to prevent the dismissal from the PM office of Alon Halvah who is a close associate of Netanyahu. This move followed a hearing procedure to Halvah and his dismissal due to the PM office’s CEO determination that he failed to fulfill his job. In our letter we described the long, comprehensive and practical dismissal procedure held in the PM office after examining severe claims against Halvah’s conduct as vice CEO of Security and Emergency in the PM office. The 24-pages document of the dismissal decision elaborates that his conduct “reflects inability to meet professional standards, disregard for rules and directives and indifference to the prohibition of exceeding authority”. In addition, the Civil Service Commission’s legal counsel, together with seniors in the Ministry of Justice including Deputy Attorney General Gil Limon, examined the dismissal procedure and determined that Halvah had no right of appealing to the Commissioner regarding the dismissal decision and that the procedure was proper. Contrary to all the professional opinions in the PM office, the State Attorney office and the Civil Service Commission, and just a few days before the swearing in of Netanyahu’s government, the Civil Service Commissioner decided to freeze the dismissal. This decision is puzzling regarding the Commissioner’s considerations to intervene and given that it is unclear whence he derives the authority of intervention. All of these data raise suspicions of flaws in the Commissioner’s conduct. Our applications in November had been done in preparation for petitioning the Supreme Court on the issue in December.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection embraces the Movement’s recommendations: It is imperative that ICL/Dead Sea Works return to the State what it deserves

In the recent months the Ministry of Environmental Protection implemented a significant process of determining a long-term governmental policy regarding the Dead Sea’s future. Fighting for over a decade to protect public interests in the sea, the Movement submitted to the Ministry an in-depth position paper and held a meeting with the Minister for elaborating on the acts that must be included in the policy. We argued that the government must set a price tag for ICL that will reflect the full damage caused to the Dead Sea by the company and also must be proactive about collecting the part of ICL’s profits that belong to the State. In addition, the government must prepare right away for the termination of ICL’s franchise and must supervise ICL’s activity and enforce the rules. We were glad to realize that the Minister embraced all of our recommendations.

More from the Movement’s desk

We have stressed: Smotrich’s remarks – while speaking in the Knesset at the 27th memorial of Yitzchak Rabin’s assassination – are complete nonsense! He must be ashamed for spreading conspiracy theories in the Knesset. Smotrich said: “Not only had the security services not prevented the assassination – they encouraged Yigal Amir to implement his plan”. Such sayings aim at encouraging delusional conspiracy and defaming the reputation and functioning of the Shabak (the Israeli Security Agency) agents. The Agency fulfills its missions faithfully and protects all of the citizens of this country. If there is one institute that has learnt a lesson from the assassination of the former Prime Minister, it is the Shabak. * Shufersal, Yeynot Bitan, Victory and Osher Ad keep their promises – they boycott Unilever! We encourage the big marketing chains that oppose Unilever’s prices increase when the cost of living is skyrocketing. * Take your hands off gatekeepers and civil servants! According to Globes newspaper Adv. Liat Ben Ari, the main prosecutor in Netanyahu’s trial, considers resigning due to the brutal attacks on her and her family. The report revealed that concerning the criticism conveyed against her, Ben Ari has been feeling left alone in the battle; she absorbs the fire that is directed at her only because by her job she is in charge of administrating Netanyahu’s trial. The Movement issued an announcement: It is unthinkable that a civil servant, as well as her family members, will be attacked. We call on the public, regardless of political affiliation, to stop any violent discourse and brutal behavior against civil servants who only do their jobs. To Adv. Liat Ben Ari we say: Be strong and powerful. We utterly support you. * We contacted the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance with regard to taxing the banks’ profits gained due to the inflation and the increase of interest rates. We asked the two seniors to act accordingly, inter alia imposing temporary inflation tax on the banks, as was done in Europe. It is improbable that the banks in Israel increase their profits while the public pay the price. * Following the Movement’s request, the Commissioner of the Capital Market instructed to examine Shlomo Elyahu’s control permit of Migdal insurance company. We contacted the commissioner due to Elyahu’s decade-long conduct that threats the company’s stability and proper administration and due to his attempt to once again replace the company’s CEO.