February 2015

February 2015 | Quality Report Headlines

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

The gas monopoly – Following a protracted and taxing campaign by the Movement – in December 2014, the Antitrust Commissioner decided to act towards dismantling the horrendous gas monopoly. The movement embarked on a comprehensive campaign in consequence of possession of the natural gas reserve “Leviathan” having been awarded to the Delek Partnership (owned by Yitzhak Tshuva) and Noble Energy – these companies will acquire control of approximately 90% of Israel’s gas reserves, and thus consist as a monopoly, for the next 30 years – a decision having a decisive influence over the entire Israeli economy. The Movement is currently continuing its support of the Antitrust Commissioner’s decision. We approached him earlier this month and demanded not to delay his decision to declare the gas monopoly as a binding agreement. Similarly, we are doing all that is necessary to ensure transparency of the hearing proceedings that are being conducted with the gas companies.

Following the financial haircuts, Yitzhak Tshuva is once again raising money from the public: he should be held accountable for financial turpitude – After a financial haircut, during which a debt of 1.4 billion NIS of public savings and pension funds were erased – as of February 2015, Yitzhak Tshuva is once again raising money from the public – and the Movement initiated a public campaign, immediately approaching the institutional bodies that manage the public’s pensions and savings and demanded that they refrain from reinvesting the public’s money in Tshuva’s business, who has already demonstrated that he has no problem in “cutting” and writing off the public’s money. The Movement’s standpoint is that a party which has carried out “haircuts” at the public’s expense should be labelled as being guilty of “financial turpitude ” and be denied access to the public’s money.

All political parties are to publish a detailed platform – In February 2015, the Movement approached all the political parties and demanded that they publish detailed platforms which address all issues on the Israeli public’s agenda. The publication of a platform is the minimum requirement of whoever seeks the Israeli public’s trust. Inter alia, the Movement calls for the parties to deal with issues such as the cost of living, transparency of the State budget, an undertaking not to include convicted criminals in the government, safeguarding of the public’s assets and natural resources etc. Concurrently, the Movement is championing a public campaign against the political party leaders.

Ma’ayan Torah Education – The Movement petitioned the Court against the Finance Ministry, demanding publication of the report conducted by the Ministry regarding the Shas’s Ma’ayan Torah Education. The Finance Ministry has not published the report, although the prescribed timeframe has elapsed and notwithstanding the severity of the draft report, which discussed worrying phenomena such as unexplained discrepancies of millions of shekels in budgeting the study hours, fictitious payments to non-existent people or people who are not employed by the Ma’ayan network, retirement payments to people who continue to work in the network, the employment of close associates and relatives – in thousands, a budgetary deficit of 140 million NIS – which was covered in full from the State budget, attempts to conceal information during the audit, and – the person who was meant to oversee the network on behalf of the Education Ministry – was employed parallel thereto also by the network itself. Furthermore, the person in the position of CEO of the network during the relevant period – Yoav Ben Tsur – currently serves as an MK; the petition demanded publication of the full report, in order to allow the grave phenomena referred to in the report to be dealt with.

Petition to the High Court of Justice: for suspension of Faina Kirschenbaum’s term of office – Despite the serious allegations against her concerning the essence of her public office and notwithstanding eruption of the corruption scandal in with Kirschenbaum is a central figure  – she continues to serve as deputy Interior Minister and has invoked her right to remain silent in her interrogation by the police.

The State Comptroller’s Report on the housing crisis – Following publication of the report, the Movement appealed to all political party heads, requiring that they adopt the report’s recommendations, include them in the platforms and the agendas and allocate significant importance to them in the framework of the coalition agreements. The Comptroller’s report constitutes a wake-up call to the decision makers and the public calls for a systematic, comprehensive and in-depth solution to the problem.

The Chief Rabbi is prohibited from engaging in politics – Following publications according to which the Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, insinuated his support  of the party, praised MKs of the Shas Movement and planned to visit Netivot in a step perceived to be participation in elections propaganda – the Movement filed a complaint to the Central Elections Committee demanding that the Chief Rabbi desist from any activity in elections propaganda – which is prohibited on account of his public office. The committee upheld our claim on the merits even though the chairman of the elections committee did not see fit to issue an injunction.

The appointment of Oded Sarig in Migdal – After preventing the initial intention to appoint the former Commissioner of Insurance to the position of chairman of Migdal Insurance company, without a sufficient statutory cooling-off period – we acted in conjunction with Shlomo Hausner, Chairman of the Securities Authority, to prevent underhanded opportunism in the attempt to now appoint him as chairman of Migdal Insurance.

Clean elections: preparedness of Israel Police – Following an appeal to the chief of the Israel Police, Yohanan Danino, we received detailed answers regarding the process of organizing all police ranks in preparation for the elections and elections day, which includes instructions that were issued concerning investigations and claims, the appointment of designated investigation teams at the respective stations, as well as the appointment of a designated national-scale investigation team in the 433 unit, which is to handle the suitable cases, as to be determined, in coordination with the State Attorney’s Office and the Central Elections Committee.

The Prime Minister’s involvement in the Israel Prize – We appealed to the Attorney General and to the Prime Minister to retract his decision and reinstate the three judges on the jury of the Israel Prize for Literature and Cinema and to permit all the judges who resigned to resume their position as members of the various committees. The standpoint that prevailed was that the Prime Minister’s interference in appointments on the eve of elections is especially problematical due to the timing of the matter and its public importance.

Curbing of public appointments during elections period – We appealed to the Attorney General in a call to amend directives pertaining to appointments during an election period and to expressly restrict ministry officials, who were appointed with the involvement of the minister in charge and who hold a position of trust in the civil service, from playing an active role in appointments that are executed by way of a tender, in light of an apprehension of politicization, underhanded opportunism during elections and the introduction of irrelevant considerations to the appointment process during this sensitive period.

Shimon Gapso, the Mayor of Upper Nazareth was convicted of accepting a bribe – In recent years we have  closely followed the process of exhausting the investigation and allegations against him; we have provided support and guidance to the exposures of municipal corruption who suffered ongoing acts of harassment by him. Earlier this month we approached the Attorney General to extend the mayor’s period of suspension.

Improper appointment of the chairman of Magen David Adom, Noam Yifrach – We applied to the Magen David Adom council in  call to cancel the chairman’s nomination for a fourth consecutive term of office, contrary to the organization’s by-laws and notwithstanding harsh criticism levelled by the State Comptroller regarding performance of the chairman and function of the organization.

The Movement for Quality Government’s elections campaign – In the past two months we have met with thousands of voters in open meetings, held panels at schools and universities dealing with pertinent issues with the participation of representative party candidates, held direct gatherings with many hundreds of members of youth movements and pre-army preparatory programs, voters who are participating in their first elections and we have stressed the citizens’ responsibility in taking an active part in public life.