September 2021

September 2021 Activity Summary Report

The Submarines Affair: Prime Minister Bennett met with the Movement’s CEO and former seniors of the Security Forces

In his office, PM Naftali Bennett held a meeting with Dr. Adv. Eliad Shraga, CEO of the Movement for Quality Government, and with former seniors of the Security Establishment, who all voiced their reasons for the need of establishing a State Committee of Inquiry concerning the Submarines Affair. During the 2-hour meeting, the PM heard firsthand relevant information. It is a most important development; therefore we believe that the PM understood how severe the events are. This meeting follows a set of meetings we’ve had – together with these Security Establishment seniors – with parties’ leaders and with different ministers including Minister of Foreign Affairs Lapid, Minister of Defense Gantz, Minister of Justice Saar, Minister of Finance Lieberman and Minister of Health Horowitz. The meeting included the movement’s CEO Dr.Adv. Eliad Shraga, former Chief of the General Staff Dan Halutz, former Mossad Head Tamir Pardo, Major General (res.) Amos Gilad, Major General (res.) Amos Malka, Major General (res.) Ilan Biran, Major General (res.) Giora Iland and Major General (res.) Dan Harel. Each one according to his view and function, the seniors detailed to the PM the sequence of the serious events, and presented an unequivocal and unanimous opinion of the importance of establishing an independent, non-reliant State Committee of Inquiry for investigating the Affair: “There is no greater corruption event than this, here there was a proven violation of national security”. Dr. Adv. Eliad Shraga, CEO of the Movement for Quality Government, who led the meeting and the petition to the High Court of Justice, said upon exiting the meeting: “There was a very good vibe throughout the meeting; the PM said he would learn the subject thoroughly. The picture has been completed and we hope that soon the committee will be established and the rectification will be applied”.

We demand transparency of the lobbyists’ activity in the Government

The lobbyists and the Makhers who act in the government are the connecting line between capital and the government. It’s time that the Attorney General acts to regulate, limit and apply transparency to the lobbyism phenomenon. Recently, several ministers have started restricting lobbyist activity vis-a-vis their ministries’ staff: Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg published procedures for regulating the relations between lobbyists and her ministry’s staff. These regulations include an obligation of reporting the meetings’ contexts, and restrictions applied to the conditions under which the meetings take place. Minister of Finance Avigdor Lieberman instructed his party’s members to refrain from meeting with lobbyists and his party’s ministers to refrain from having such meetings without the presence of the ministry’s professional rank. Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar declared she will not enable personal meetings with lobbyists. Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz announced that the whole activity concerning lobbyists will be committed by the professional rank. Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli declared she will be meeting with lobbyists only according to the professional rank recommendation and under strict transparency conditions. All of these are an important step on the way toward regulating the lobbyists’ activity in the Government, yet it is a limited one and obviously not enough: the restrictions initiated by five ministers probably will be applied only over the current period of time and will be relevant only for these very ministries. In addition, the guidelines are not uniform and they change according to this ministry or the other – they actually do not constitute a coherent set of rules. Our advice is to establish obligatory instructions on behalf of the Attorney General, instructions that will once and for all regulate the lobbyists’ activity in the government’s ministries and in the administration’s authorities. All of this will be accompanied by establishing a new chapter in the Civil Service Regulations (Takshir) that will determine strict disciplinary rules and clear limitations of the Lobbyists’ activity directed to civil servants.

Why did Netanyahu meet with a person who is a prosecution witness in his trial? We demanded from the Attorney General and the Police Inspector General to investigate due to suspicion of obstruction of justice

Journalist Aviad Glickmann published in Channel 13 news that Knesset Member and Head of Opposition Binyamin Netanyahu who has been criminally judged, met with billionaire Larry Alison who is one of the prosecution witnesses in Netanyahu’s trial. The meeting took place during the latter’s vacation with his family in Alison’s owned Hawaiian island of Lanai. Netanyahu had previously admitted that he had several conversations with Arnon Milchen, another prosecution witness – and a key one – in his trial. In addition, it became known by former publications that during contact between Milchen and Alison, the latter asked that Milchen frees his lawyer Adv. Boaz Ben-Tsur from representing him in order to enable Ben-Tsur’s appointment as Netanyahu’s lawyer. Here is a possibility of four persons that have a common issue: a defendant, his advocate, and two different and critical prosecution witnesses in the defendant’s trial. As Netanyahu’s criminal trial has been currently at the evidentiary stage and before Alison’s and Milchen’s testimonies, Netanyahu-Alison meeting might be considered offenses that can be attempt of disrupting the trial’s procedures, witnesses tampering and possibly conspiring in order to execute a sin. Therefore, we requested Attorney General Mandelblitt and Police Inspector General Shabtai to initiate a fast and efficient investigation that will ensure keeping proper and fast procedures in PM Netanyahu’s trial. The criminal trial of the former PM, who is suspected of bribery, fraud and breaching of trust, is one of the most important trial procedures carried out since establishing the State of Israel. The law enforcement authorities must clear out any suspicion of disrupting this trial’s procedures.

A public letter to President of State Herzog: In order to remove any suspicion of conflict of interest, issue the legal opinion that led to shortening a sentence!

Following is the public letter sent to President Herzog by the Movement:

“The media reported yesterday that you have signed a shortened sentence of Adv. Gila Naftalin – the sister of the Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowich, who is considered your crony. Adv. Naftalin was sentenced for two years of imprisonment after being convicted for the offenses of fraud, forgery and theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from her clients’ trust accounts. It was also reported that the State Attorney Office objected to the early release of Adv. Naftalin due to her failing to complete her rehabilitation program and in spite of the stated argument that the program was postponed due to the covid-19 conditions. Thus, these reports raise severe legal questions regarding suspicions of conflict of interests and of favoritism involved in your decision to shorten Adv. Naftalin’s sentence. Although according to the reports you had been acting according to the Presidential Residence’s legal counsel’s opinion stating that ‘it was not about conflict of interest’, it should be remembered that already before turning to the legal level, the presidency institution is a state institution in which securing integrity is of utmost importance since the President is Number 1 Citizen who is situated above all other civil servants. Therefore, even when a legal opinion had been stated, the public visibility of the President’s conduct – certainly when it comes to shortening of sentences decisions – has got extra significance in keeping the Presidential public image’s integrity. Honorable President, we ask you to let the public know the legal opinion you received in order to remove from you any suspicion of conflict of interest in pardoning Adv. Gila Naftalin!.”

We addressed the Commission Members: The Political Rank should be interrogated by the Meron Disaster Commission

The lowest rank should not be considered sole culprit for the Meron Disaster: also the political rank must be interrogated by the State Commission of Inquiry. We requested from the Commission’s members – led by former President of the Supreme Court Miriam Naor – to examine and investigate the political rank’s acts relevant to this national disaster in which 45 people had been crushed to death and 150 more had been wounded. In our letter we explained the reasons for suspecting that a number of ministers – first and foremost the then Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri and the then Minister of Internal Security Amir Okhana were pressing (according to media publications) for having the revelry in Meron without limiting the participants – counter to the covid-19 regulations valid for that time. Acting this way seems to be exceeding the Ministers’ legal authority and wrong also because there was no proper outline confirmed by the government. We also mentioned that a State Comptroller’s severe report regarding the disaster had already been published. This report discussed the faults and defects in the compatibility of Meron Mountain’s buildings for mass events and the decisions that had been made in former governments but had never been fully fulfilled. In spite of all that, according to the publications the government’s ministers had been pressing to have the festive gathering without any restrictions – against the professional rank’s opinion. We bless the State Commission of Inquiry for the Meron Disaster’s acts up to now and for the profound discussions and the investigations that are broadcasted for the public’s sake. However, we think that the Commission must examine and investigate thoroughly also the political rank’s responsibility for the tragedy, for this rank might have acted against the law and even out of criminal negligence.

We requested from the Minister of Interior Security to expand the Examination Commission for the Prisoners’ Flight Neglect and acknowledge the obligation of checking political appointments and conflict of interest in Shabbas (Israel Prisons Service)

The Prisoners’ Flight Neglect had not started or ended in the flight itself. It is about an ongoing failure that had begun in political interference in the Prisons Service and now requires a serious and thorough examination. The media exposed details that raised the suspicion of making decisions in spite of relevant conflict of interest of the Shabbas’ head Katy Perry: According to publications, in her former Shabbas positions Perry allegedly acted to improve the imprisonment conditions of her two brothers who were imprisoned in Gilboa prison for bribing. It was also published that Perry’s brother is a shareholder in a company that has got abundant business relations with the Shabbas (this fact was seemingly missing from a conflict of interest arrangement signed by Perry last December). It was also reported that Perry’s sister might have been recently promoted in her Shabbas job due to a decision made in a promotions meeting in which Perry herself participated. When all these matters add to a history of problematic appointments in this organization (as is appointing Shabbas Legal Counsel Eran Nahon, who was considered former Minister of Interior Security Amir Okhana’s crony), the outcome is a disturbing and worrisome reality of administrative irregularities in the Prisons Service throughout decisions made in a state of conflict of interest and unrelated considerations made by the organization’s head. In any organization, political appointments as a way of conduct harm the professionalism and the quality of the public service and cause systemic and operational faults like those revealed a propos the sorry event of the security prisoners’ flight from prison. Therefore, following Minister of Interior Security Omer Bar-Lev’s announcement of his intention to establish a government commission of examination for this neglect of the security prisoners’ flight from Gilboa prison, we requested from him and from Attorney General Mandelblitt to expand the Commission’s powers. We asked them to add to the Commission’s appointment form – that will be submitted to the government’s affirmation – the issues of political appointments and conflict of interest in Shabbas. This organization’s defilement must come to its end.

We sent a detailed letter to Attorney General Mandelblitt: Order the government to establish a State Commission of Inquiry regarding the corruption related to the Submarines Affair!

Three years ago we at the Movement had received an obligatory decision to do whatever it takes in order to expose the truth behind the Submarines Affair – the most severe affair ever revealed in Israel. For over a long time we had been collecting information, applying examinations, comparing data and talking with dozens of people involved in the most serious corruption affair ever exposed in Israel. We also received detailed affidavits from over 50 former and present senior members of the defense and administration systems. Eventually, and together with a petition, we submitted all of these materials to the Supreme Court in demand for an order to establish a state commission of inquiry for this severe affair. The Court considered our petition with due seriousness and in July 2021 published its resolution. Though the petition was not accepted, the Court stressed that it was definitely adequate to thoroughly and intensively check the faults and difficulties emerged from the improper conduct that unfolded before the Police and the State Attorney Office. This should be done by a State Commission of Inquiry. Moreover, Judge Yitzkhak Amit detailed in this publication a number of issues that must be examined in depth, and so throw some light on this obscured affair: “To the improper conduct revealed to the Policeand the State Attorney Office joins a set of doubts to which I have not found any answers in the information in front of me. I will detail only some of them: Who had formulated the memorandum of agreements with Germany, a document delivered by the Malal (National Security Council)?

Who inserted into this memorandum the demand for ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) ships, whose cost is heavy, and why? And if there had been any necessity of ASW ships, how come that this demand had been quickly removed from the memorandum following IDF’s and the Security Establishment’s objection? Why, allegedly and as claimed, heavy pressure had been applied to cancel the international tender for defense ships – in spite for all that it entailed and before Thyssenkrupp’s obligation to reduce the costs considerably and the Company’s explanations regarding the ships’ model and specifications? Why, as claimed, had the Prime Minister concealed from the Minister of Defense, the IDF Chief of the General Staff, the Navy Commander-in-Chief, the Military Intelligence Directorate and the Mossad Director the fact of granting Germany his consent to sell submarines to Egypt? If at all, who did the PM update on this consent of selling to Egypt and who was the PM’s partner to this decision?”

Now, when the legal discussion of this affair had ended, it is time for a public one – this is the time for establishing a State Commission of Inquiry for the sake of clearing the uncertainties enveloping this sensitive affair, an affair that relates to the utmost significant aspects of Israel’s security and therefore worries a lot of Isrealis. This is the reason for our request from Attorney General Dr. Avikhai Mandelblitt to use his authority and instruct the government to establish a state commission of inquiry as soon as possible. The Submarines Affair should not be allowed to submerge in the depths without a full, comprehensive and intensive investigation. The Israeli Public is entitled to answers.