December 2017 | Quality Report Headlines
December 2017 Activity Summary
For additional information: www.mqg.org.il
High Court of Justice petition and struggling against the “Recommendations Law” – Following the confirmation of this law, that limits the police’s and the law enforcement systems’ capacity to act, the Movement promptly petitioned the Supreme Court against the law. It is about a law – even in its “softened” variation – that harms the bouncers, the law enforcement systems, the equality before the law and the ability to fight corruption. This petition is part of a vast legal and public struggle the Movement has been conducting against this law from the moment of its presentation. The movement acted in order to prevent ministers and KMs, who have been in themselves under investigations and therefore in the state of conflict of interests, from participating in the voting. Indeed, following the Movement’s actions these specific KMs and ministers could not participate in the voting. By publicizing the fact of KM David Bitan’s interrogation, the Movement petitioned again for preventing his participation in the voting as well. This struggle is not – and should not be – only legal: the Movement’s members have been acting also in the public space in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other places, demonstrating against this law and against corruption in general.
The Movement’s petition succeeded in stopping the concealing of documents concerning budget overrun in constructing the new Stock Exchange building – In October 2016 the movement petitioned Jerusalem District Court in order to receive documents and information that will reveal faults in the new Stock Exchange constructing project, faults that caused budget overruns of ILS 92.5 million. This month the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the documents will be transferred to the Movement within 45 days from the acceptance of judgment. The Movement’s petition asked of the court to order ISA (Israel Securities Authority) and TASE (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange) to hand the Movement protocols, audit reports, and names of ISA representatives who participated in general assemblies and directory meetings – all of these regarding the construction (that ended July 2014). The reasons for the petition were a seemingly fault in the economical and managerial conduct of the Stock Exchange relating to its new building, and what might come up as a fault in ISA’s supervision of this conduct. The Stock Exchange 2013 financial report shows that the SE had to acknowledge an enormous loss of ILS 92.5 million due to deviation in the construction’s cash flow that was significantly higher than the original budget, and due to the fact of the new building’s lesser value comparing to the sum invested in constructing it.
The Movement turned to the Attorney General of Israel concerning the PM’s speech – The Movement disapproved publicly of the PM’s speech to about a thousand of Likud activists at a Hannuka celebration in Kfar Hamaccabiya, and also demanded of the Attorney General to explain to the PM the gravity of expressing himself in this manner. The Movement claimed that the speech comprised most severe and enraging denunciations of the law enforcement system and the tens of thousands of people participating in the public protest against corruption. In its letter to the Attorney General, the Movement wrote inter alia: “As a movement fighting the corruption curse for over 27 years, we do so not out of any political interests but only in order to enhance high-quality, moral, clean government for the wellbeing of the Israeli society and for the fortitude of the State of Israel. We here express our disgust with what was said. The Movement participates actively in the protests and demonstrations of the recent six months and relates great importance to public involvement and to the public’s insistence that the severe suspicions against seniors of the political and defense systems – including Mr. Netanyahu – will be investigated as properly, meticulously and efficiently as possible. The Movement’s members represent all of the Israeli political views; through demonstrations and regular activity they wish to make it clear to elected public representatives of both the right and the left, and to any civil servant: there is no room to corruption and to corrupt people in the Israeli government authorities. Not only that corruption harms public assets and the public money, it injures the Israeli society’s moral resilience and the strength and capacity of survival of the State of Israel. Any attempt to reduce the severity of the suspicions and to relate political interests to the protest is an attempt to avoid investigating the truth and providing the public with a truthful account. In his speech, Mr. Netanyahu’s statements were not only offensive but also inciting against right and left loyal and decent Israeli citizens who demand proper administration. This grave incitement is accompanied by condemnations against the law enforcement system and by harsh contempt of the police and its devoted performance. The PM’s statements fiercely harm the ability of forcing the law and of accomplishing the principle of Equality before the Law; such statements should not be conveyed by any citizen, let alone by a prime minister and in particular when he is in the process of being interrogated.”
No to confirmation of selling Bank Igud to Bank Mizrahi-Tfahot – Regarding the formal announce of forming a deal of purchasing Igud bank by Mizrahi-Tfahot bank, the Movement addresses the Supervisor of Banks and the Antitrust Authority Commissioner to use their lawful authority of preventing the deal: the regulators nominated for confirming the deal should act in favor of the public’s interest to increase the competition within the banking sector. The Movement marked a number of reasons for not confirming the deal, among others is the fact that merging Igud into Mizrahi-Tfahot will cause the loss of a component of the banking market that is independent and significant, albeit small, and has been generating competition (for example Igud’s “upside down” current account program and its sizeable part of the mortgages market). Properly managed, Igud will certainly be able to gather strength and continue generating competition, while the merge will turn Hamizrahi-Tfahot into a dominant factor in the current oligopoly, this way reducing its competitive motivation. In fact, from the banking sectors two competition-generators eventually will be omitted: Igud and Hamizrahi-Tfahot. This deal contradicts the Shtrum Committee results and the law for enhancing competition and reducing centralization, both aimed to increase the number of competitors and not to reduce it. Past experience marks the failure of the Bank of Israel policy of encouraging big banks to purchase smaller ones: following the swallow of the small banks, the phenomenon of banking centralization only worsened.
The Movement notifies the Finance Minister: the committee for applying the reform of enhancing competition in the banking market fails to implement the law’s demands – The Coalition of Social Organizations and the Movement for Quality Government demanded from the Finance Minister and the members of the Committee for Examining Competition in the Credit Market to comply with the law conditions and prevent dissolving the reform in the banking market. The organizations reasoned: “The law granted the committee a rare, one-time opportunity to accomplish a reform of real value in enhancing the public interest of reducing centralization and consequently decreasing the cost of living for Israeli citizens. We entreat the Committee members to fully realize the opportunity given to them and to prevent stripping the Committee’s roles of their meaning.” It should be noted that the law of increasing competition and reducing centralization in the Israeli banking market had been validated as of January 2017; this law authorizes the Committee for Examining Competition in the Credit Market to execute a number of actions in order to realize the law’s purpose. Within 90 days from the Committee’s inauguration, it was supposed to publicize measurable methods of examining success in enhancing competition in the banking market. In practice, the document was released in a six months delay, but this is just the smaller trouble: according to the organizations, the Committee’s document does not meet the law’s purpose since it hardly includes any reference to defined numerical objectives and to clear time tables as demanded by the law.