Yesh Atid Israel Centrist Party – This is How We Will Combat Corruption
Yesh Atid has prepared the Nachshon Plan to fight corruption in the public sector and to strengthen law enforcement. It is part of Yesh Atid’s Seven Point Plan for the future of the State of Israel. It is designed to clean up and fix Israel’s corrupt and inefficient political systems, to restore us to correct, decent and fair government, and to dramatically improve the standard of service provided to citizens by state institutions.
The government – every government – has a fundamental role, which is to ask, every morning: “Where do we want to be in another five years?”
Not “what jobs can we arrange for our close associates?”
Not “how do we put billions of public funds into the hands of party hacks who will elect us in the primaries?”
Not “how can we divide and split Israeli society so that they vote for us out of fear and hatred.”
We want to focus on what happens here.
What will happen here in five years’ time?
What will happen here ten years from now?
What will be our security situation, our economy, our society here in Israel?
How do we make sure that our children know that we did everything for them to be able to live in a better country?
“The Nachshon Plan” is a step in this direction as it goes directly to the heart of the problem: to government corruption and to our malfunctioning and corrupt political system. It is built on the foundation of proper rule of law, with an efficient police force and efficient courts. The State of Israel needs a strong law enforcement system that is not afraid of anyone. This program has been designed to deliver just this to us.
The plan was designed by retired Major General Yoav Segalovitch, who is the country’s number one fighter against corruption, and who founded “Lahav 433,” the national police unit to combat corruption and organized crime. The plan was developed with the assistance of MK Mickey Levy, a retired Major General and Commander of the Jerusalem District Police, and MK Yaakov Perry, former Head of the Shin Beit.
This is a smart, professional and workable program that will restore the Israeli citizens’ trust in their government.
The Nachshon plan is built on two central pillars:
1) The struggle against corruption in the public sector and “lawful corruption” – uprooting the culture of corruption in the public and government sectors which has become a strategic threat to the State of Israel. In order to achieve this goal, we will strive to remove political interests from the core of decision making in Israel through legislative changes. In parallel, the law enforcement system will receive the tools and means required to effectively fight public corruption.
2) Strengthening law enforcement and a sense of personal security – returning a sense of personal security to the citizens of the state by increasing police presence on the streets and in public areas, seeking to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries through a sustained campaign against traffic accidents, and investing in additional resources to combat crime.
The Battle against Corruption and “Legal Corruption”
Yesh Atid presented a package of aggressive legislation that deals with public corruption to the Knesset. The only way to restore the public’s faith in the government and the state is to protect the integrity of the system and the rule of law. Anyone who has strayed from this path should be prevented from serving in the public sector. In order to uproot the political culture in which “everything is legal and everything is allowed,” Yesh Atid will work to eliminate “lawful corruption.”
Corruption is not only defined by criminal acts. Many things that take place in the corridors of power are immoral even though they aren’t illegal, because they damage the system and erode public trust.
- Yesh Atid’s legislative package to fight public corruption
- Anyone convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude can no longer serve as a government minister, member of Knesset, or mayor
A public servant convicted of theft or bribery must not continue to serve in the public sector. The proposed law to fight public corruption (Conviction of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude – 2016) will prevent a person from ever holding public office if they have been convicted of such a crime. To bar convicted clerks, drivers, and service providers from jobs in the public sector, while the most senior public servants can continue to serve in their roles is illogical. We must hold all public servants and elected officials to the highest of standards.
- Elimination of “political bribery” (Members of Knesset receiving public funds)
An ugly phenomenon exists which must be eliminated: Members of Knesset receive “political bribes” in the form of millions of shekels of public funds, in order to “pay” for sectorial needs, jobs, and to ensure re-election in the primaries. The draft legislation for Regulating Coalition Funding – 2017 – will outlaw the exchange of public funding for coalition votes. It will create transparency and good governance regarding the use of public funds, in order to prevent corruption in the political system.
- Public officials will not have the right to remain silent during criminal investigation
The proposed law against public corruption (Refusal to Respond during a Criminal Investigation – 2015) will obligate public officials to co-operate with government and legal authorities. In the event that a prime minister, minister, or head of a local authority chooses to invoke his/her right to remain silent, he/she shall be deemed to have resigned from his/her designated post and shall no longer be permitted to serve as a public representative.
- Massively increase resources for the police and prosecution services, as a means to combat public corruptionTackling the issue of public corruption, as a matter of top priority, will necessitate providing the law enforcement system with additional resources to combat public corruption more effectively.
- Elimination of political interests from planning and construction committees, which has been a source of corruption in local government
Public interest should be the sole consideration that guides committee members. They should not be subjected to political or other pressures. The composition of planning and construction committees will be changed so that public representatives are not personally involved in the decision-making process. These planning and construction committees control one of the largest public economic resources: housing. Therefore, to maintain the integrity of these committees and to ensure fairness and equality, political considerations cannot be permitted to enter this arena.
- An aggressive fight against growing corruption in local government
In recent years, dozens of city mayors and deputies have been investigated for bribery and breach of trust. The central role of municipalities in the lives of Israeli citizens demands aggressive measures against this phenomenon. As part of its campaign to combat such behavior, the government will adopt and enact the amended Municipalities Ordinance, which includes amendments that strengthen the rule of law and integrity in local government authorities. Measures include setting rules regarding conflicts of interest for selected local authority officials, restructuring the composition of tender committees, broader publication of the minutes of council meetings, and increasing transparency in local governance, which would include municipality companies, senior local authority appointments, and more.
Strengthening the Law Enforcement System
- Establishing a police department in every city in Israel
As part of our crime prevention and law enforcement efforts, it is vital to establish a police department in every city in Israel, complete with 24/7 response capabilities within the security services, traffic enforcement and investigations, or, respectively, additional services specially tailored to the needs of agricultural areas and local councils. Many cities in Israel today do not have a police department that can properly serve the city’s residents. The State of Israel must be able to offer equal police services to all of its residents. Law enforcement, policing, security, and crime prevention services must be provided across the country in an equal and comprehensive fashion.
- Adding hundreds of patrol cars, police officers, and cameras to combat traffic accidents
Traffic accidents claim hundreds of lives each year in Israel. Since 2012, we have witnessed a substantial increase in the number of traffic accidents and casualties, while the road safety budget has been continually reduced. Committees, reports and recommendations all indicate a direct link between increased traffic enforcement and a drop in accident rates, but none of these recommendations have been fully implemented. The government needs to increase traffic enforcement services substantially. This includes funding more patrol cars, police officers, and electronic enforcement devices.
- Doubling the funds allocated to treating at-risk youth and young offenders
A moral society concerned with its economic and social future must invest resources not only in law enforcement and punishment, but also in treating at-risk youth. In order to offer these young people a real opportunity and a brighter future, we must double the number of government agencies and service providers in this field. The government ought to substantially increase the manpower and funds allocated to youth parole officers, child and youth investigators, youth welfare officers, and youth court judges.