Timing is everything.
With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under police investigation for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of shekels in free cigars and champagne, as well as discussing a deal whereby he would get favorable coverage in Yediot Aharonot in exchange for taking measures to curb its chief competitor, Israel Hayom, the Prime Minister Office’s Human Resources Department sent an email to all employees on Wednesday with the following subject line: “Prohibition against accepting gifts and benefits by a public employees, including for family celebrations and events.”
The email, sent by Shir Turgeman, calls on the PMO employees to read the circulars – attached to the email – put out by the Civil Service Commission against accepting gifts.
“Please read carefully the attached circulars and make sure to act in accordance with them,” she wrote.
Adina Dror, the deputy head of the Human Resources Department, wrote in a letter she attached to the email that it was incumbent upon all the PMO’s workers to know that they could be held criminally responsible, or face disciplinary procedures, for receiving gifts from people whom they are in contact with on a professional basis, or who need their services.
One of the attached documents was a circular dated February 2014 and sent by the Civil Service Commission to all the government ministries and more than a dozen other governmental bodies.
This circular said that “in light of a number of recent cases” of criminal and disciplinary procedures against government workers for accepting gifts, “we felt it necessary to reiterate the rules and directives regarding the issue. As detailed in the body of the circular, the civil servant must not accept gifts except under conditions set out by the law and civil service regulations. This prohibition also applies to gifts given as part of celebrations and family events.”
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