September-October 2019 Activity Summary Report
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We petitioned the High Court of Justice: Netanyahu should return the money he received for financing his legal expenses; a criminal investigation should be commenced
Not less than three times has the Permits Committee rejected the PM’s request to receive money from his cousin Natan Milikovsky and from his friend Spencer Partridge. During the second discussion of the request, just before its rejection, the Committee revealed that in spite of not receiving the Committee’s permit, the PM decided to borrow from his friend the sum of $300,000. Besides obviously disallowing the request, the Committee ordered the PM to return immediately the money he took in spite of having no permission to do so. Instead of returning the money, the PM bypassed the Committee and contacted directly the State Comptroller who, allegedly without any authority, confirmed a loan for the PM without ensuring the enforcement of returning the former loan. We petitioned the High Court of Justice regarding several demands: ordering the PM to return all the money he received, cancelling the Comptroller’s decision (by virtue of what authority it was made is unclear) to confirm the additional loan, and also – commencing a criminal investigation concerning this issue.
When choosing to borrow money from wealthy people the PM is being situated in a conflict of interests that might raise the suspicion of committing the offenses of fraud and breach of trust. The very fact of concealing information from the Permit Committee together with the attempt to receive confirmation in retrospect, raise suspicion of fraudulent obtaining of a thing.
Ending appointments of close associates: we petitioned the High Court against the appointment of a vice-CEO in the Ministry of Social Welfare
From the outset of her functioning as a vice-CEO in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Ms. Aline Elul made arbitrary, far-reaching decisions that disregarded possible risks for various sectors, including teenagers, who are under supervision of the Ministry.
After our dealing with these affairs over several months, an exceptionally grievous State Comptroller Report was issued concerning appointments made by Haim Katz, former minister of Social Welfare Services, with a whole chapter dedicated to Elul. Apparently, serious faults were found in the procedure of her appointment that was accomplished in spite of the unequivocal objection of the Civil Service Commissioner Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz. Three months ago we contacted the Civil Service Commission in request to cancel Elul’s appointment. Receiving no response for months, we petitioned the High Court of Justice.
Throughout the recent four years Minister Katz appointed no less than 19 close associates to various jobs in the ministry. Among these appointments was that of Aline Elul as vice-CEO although her experience in the Ministry amounted to just three months as chairperson of the Tender Committee and two years as consultant in the CEO’s office. As if all these details were not reason enough for cancelling the appointment, it turned out that in the time prior to her appointment she had committed several severe disciplinary offenses for which she was reprimanded. In addition, according to sms messages posted privately, there is suspicion that Elul’s promotion had been decided about without considering other candidates’ suitability.
The Dolfinarium Affair: after years of struggle, the Public will receive ILS 41 million back
Due to this affair we have been struggling about for many years now. Situated on the sea shore and designated for entertainment and leisure uses, the Dolfinarium complex was handed over by its owners to Tel Aviv municipality in exchange for another plot that belonged to the Public. Problem was that this plot’s value was by far higher than that of the Dolfinarium complex, meaning that the deal accomplished in this case was very much not worthwhile considering the Public interest. We had been struggling legally for years against this deal and eventually petitioned the High Court of Justice. This move resulted in considering the issue, at last, by a professional discussion that established the decision of returning ILS 41 million to the public fund. We obviously welcome this decision but still find it crucial to remind that it would have been the best if this affair wouldn’t have existed at all.
We petitioned the High Court: the State Comptroller refuses to issue reports of former Comptroller
It became known recently that the State Comptroller refuses to publish some check reports, complete or near completion, that were prepared during the former State Comptroller’s serving time. According to releases, SC Englman postpones issuing the reports by several months (plainly – it’s hard not to fear that he will find reasons not to publish them also then). Further on it came out that Englman refuses to issue also a special check report, signed by the former SC, that (according to information) comprises highly grim finds concerning political interference in the independency of the media’s regulating factors, among them the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council and the Second Authority for Television and Radio.
We petitioned the High Court of Justice in demand to order Englman the issuing of all of the reports. His decision not to do so violates a long-standing policy stating that publication of SC reports should not be postponed, certainly not out of political considerations such as elections. Furthermore – according to the law, the authority concerning reports signed by the former SC belongs to this very former SC. So, the present SC has got no authority to prevent the submitting and the publishing of such reports.
We petitioned: Does the agreement between Halikud and Zehut parties mean bribery of elections?
Prior to the elections, PM Netanyahu and Zehut leader Mosheh Feiglin announced the signing of a mutual agreement that refers to Zehut‘s support of Halikud instead of participating in the elections. In return to his consent to withdraw from the elections Feiglin was promised an appointment as minister in the next government. Only seems to be a legitimate political promise, Such an exchange is actually a fraud that comprises high financial compensation: not only higher salary comparing to that of Feiglin’s as a Knesset Member but also better conditions that include economy fees, financed office car and other benefits, also intangible, which are part of a minister’s rights. This deal breaches the elections law – it is a give-and-take deal in such a way that raises suspicions and requires the immediate cancelling of the agreement. As if not enough, there seems to be another illegitimate deal comprised in the agreement: the Likud‘s promise to cover all Zehut‘s debts accumulated in the current elections campaign. According to our petition, it is highly possible that here is a suspicion of bribery of elections – Likud factors took advantage of their status in order to actually buy Zehut party.
Legal activity regarding the elections
During the elections campaign we submitted not a few petitions concerning cases that raised suspicions of breaching the campaign’s or the elections’ laws. In all of the petitions we succeeded in removing the contents in question (e.g. videos). Among others, we petitioned twice against the Likud due to prohibited campaign (using soldiers and IDF facilities); once against Shass for using public money in financing their campaign; once against Yahadut Hatora for using children in their campaign; twice against YouTube for not deleting unidentified campaigning videos. We also addressed the Elections Committee concerning the initiative of placing cameras in polls. The Committee accepted our opinion that any use made of the cameras should be carried out by an official factor such as the Elections Committee or the police, but not by any party’s activists. Furthermore – using cameras should be implemented equally in all of the polls.
Following his attack on the judicial system: Ohana is not worthy of the Minister of Justice post
We were horrified by Minister Ohana’s uncontrolled attack on the judicial system. The Israeli Public is entitled to a Minister of Justice who serves the Public’s interests, not one who conducts the way talkbackists do. The present Minister of Justice runs a campaign against the Rule of Law’s system from within the Ministry of Justice. Netanyahu must dismiss Ohana from office and by that to restore the Public’s trust in the judicial system. In addition, there is need to inquire whether Ohana violated a gag order knowingly while despising the Court’s decision.