June 2014

June 2014 | Quality Report Headlines

For full report (in Hebrew) visit our Hebrew website: http://www.mqg.org.il

Elections for president – The movement congratulates Reuven Rivlin, Knight of Quality Government of 2012, for his recent election as the new President of the State of Israel. During the election, the movement followed closely the various different scandals which were exposed, and demanded that the attorney general rule whether or not Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was fit to run for president.

Cancellation of the salary increase for Knesset members – An important victory was recorded in this struggle in June 2014, when the public commission for determining the wages of Knesset members had released its recommendation to cancel the wage increase for Knesset members. It would have come to an increase of nearly NIS 1,000, which would have made the wage of Knesset members almost NIS 40,000 monthly – much higher than the norm for members of parliament in the world. The committee’s recommendation to cancel the increase came after a long struggle by MQG, during which over 21,000 citizens have signed our petition. As a part of the struggle we turned to Knesset members and decision-makers; now we are closely following the issue until the Commission’s recommendation is finally approved.

The struggle against the gas monopoly – MQG continues to act vigorously on this matter, after an outrageous decision which granted ownership of the Leviathan gas field for the next 30 years to Izhak Tshuva and his associates, while trampling the competition. The movement is striving to make sure values like transparency and protecting the public interest will be key considerations for the decision-makers on this matter. This month we have submitted a detailed position paper to the antitrust commissioner and asked him to reconsider his decision to reach a partnership agreed order. Instead, we demanded he apply his full authority and to bring real competition into the gas market.

The fight against the plague of debt forgiveness – After 94 debt arrangements (totaling NIS 21 billion within four years), this month we have witnessed what we think is going to be the largest “debt haircut” in the country’s history – NIS 5.25 billion as a part of a debt forgiveness to Zim, controlled by the Ofer family. MQG continues to fight against debt haircuts and distorted agreements, in which profits go to the tycoons and losses to the public. This month we have sent a detailed position paper–which includes operational proposals–to the Andorn Committee, which is examining in depth the issue of debt haircuts.

Publication of the Sheshinski Committee conclusions – After the publication of the Sheshinski Committee report in June 2014, MQG published its comments and submitted a position paper with listed economic and legal positions. According to MQG’s standpoint, the Committee has taken a conservative view approach that may result in missing the rare opportunity for a reform in current policies that allow tycoons to maximize realize huge profits from natural resources, while citizens of Israel are left only with crumbs. The mistake of the Committee is the decision to reduce the percentage of government royalties, which are already substantially lower than customary in many countries. In addition, the movement demanded the publication of the committee’s full protocols.

Petition against the Commissioner of Banks and the Governor of the Bank of Israel regarding the IDB affair – On the 29.06.2014 the movement appealed to the Supreme Court against the Commissioner of Banks and the Governor of the Bank of Israel demanding that they make a thorough inquiry into the banks’ conduct concerning the IDB group, the credit exception given IDB, and issues of debt collection from IDB. According to MQG, the banks acted in a way endangering public funds to the benefit of the small IDB group. The banks did not consider financial reports and balance sheets, and did not demand actualization of personal guarantees and collaterals. Moreover, the regulatory agencies did not conduct a comprehensive and systematic investigation. The movement demands such an investigation, with the drawing of systemic and personal conclusions.

The Bill to seal loopholes in the Law Against Centralization – During recent months, MQG has been promoting a bill which aims to close one of the most serious vulnerabilities in the Law Against Centralization, a loophole which permits that foreign and private companies to be not counted as levels in the control pyramid. This, in fact, legalizes huge control-pyramids, perpetuating economic centralization and jeopardizing the public’s finances.

The appeal against the appointment of Tzachi Hanegbi as Vice-Minister, due to his previous conviction – On 06.08.2014 MQG appealed to the Supreme Court against Tzachi Hanegbi’s appointment as Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. Such an appointment crosses a dangerous red line, since Hanegbi is a convicted felon whose crime involved moral turpitude.

The Supreme Court has ordered the State to explain the new Conscription Law as part of our petition – Following a petition by MQG against the new Conscription Law, the Supreme Court has issued a conditional order demanding that the State to explain why the law shouldn’t be rescinded. The movement appealed because the new law does not meet the criteria previously established by the court during over the years and it violates the principle of equality.

The bill to strengthen whistleblower protection – MQG recorded an important achievement, as on the 29.06.2014, when the Ministerial Committee for Legislation has approved the a bill, written by the movement in conjunction with Knesset Member Mickey Rosenthal. The bill which aims is intended to strengthen the protection of whistleblowers. The bill will put an end to a situation in which many whistleblowers do not receive the protection which they should get by law, simply because the legal definition of the term “corruption” is too narrow.

Public Exposure of the Knesset Members Declarations of Personal Wealth – MQG launched an extensive public campaign demanding that Knesset Members to reveal their Declarations of Personal Wealth. The recent presidential elections have revealed that much scandalous activity is hidden beneath the surface, not infrequently, even among those who have served as members of Knesset for many years. This proves once again what the movement has claimed for a long time: – members of the Knesset Members must publically reveal their Declarations of Personal Wealth in order for the public to know about all the financial interests which MK’s hold, and to make sure that MK’s are not accumulating wealth illegally during their tenure.

Activities at the Municipal Level – A major part of MQG’s activity is on the municipal level. The following are representative examples which constitute a small part of such municipal activities by the movement in recent months. Jerusalem: Following the objection of MQG and “Adam Teva V’Din” the construction of the Agrippas parking lot in Mahane Yehuda market was delayed – since no organized plan regarding many matters–including safety–was presented as required by law. Nazareth Illit: Following a request by the movement, the Attorney General filed a motion to continue the suspension of the suspended mayor, Shimon Gapso, due to the charges filed against him. Taibeh: Following a petition by the movement, the court overturned the tender for vice president of human resources in the Taibeh municipality since it was conducted ​​in contradiction to the rules of good governance. Yesud HaMaala: The movement appealed to the local council to clarify whether the appointment of an external consultant was done legally. Nahariya: The movement appealed to the Interior Minister to investigate the allegations of improper employment of the Nahariya Municipality Treasurer.