Yesh Atid MKs disrupt transparency meeting

Haim Jelin says committee discussion was "Zionist Union press conference."

November 5, 2015 00:16
1 minute read.
Haim Jellin

Yesh Atid's Haim Jellin brings Kassam rocket to Knesset as he's set to be sworn in. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Yesh Atid lawmakers interrupted a meeting of the Knesset’s special committee on transparency Wednesday by accusing the Zionist Union of having a poor record on the issue.

The meeting began with speeches by Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni and the head of the committee, the party’s MK Stav Shaffir, boasting about their transparency. But Yesh Atid MKs Haim Jelin, Meir Cohen and Yael German heckled and stopped the meeting.

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The MKs called upon Shaffir to reveal an agreement the Labor Party (the main component of the Zionist Union) signed with Bayit Yehudi in the Zionist Congress recently that gave the right-wing party authority over the World Zionist Organization’s settlement division.

“We thought this would be a proper discussion about transparency in the national institutions, but it ended up being a Zionist Union press conference,” said Jelin. “We heard the Zionist Union MKs say that everything is corrupt, but that did not prevent them from making secret agreements to give out political patronage positions. You cannot lead a committee on transparency on one hand and refuse to reveal backroom deals with the other.”

Shaffir responded that in the previous Knesset, in which Yesh Atid was part of the government, its leader Yair Lapid allocated massive sums to the settlement division as finance minister.

Jelin complained that Shaffir accused him of “stealing money” along with the settlement division. Shaffir declined to take back the accusation or offer proof.

Herzog said in the meeting that the Zionist Union would lead the effort to prevent corruption and misuse of public funds. He said he would take steps to ensure the state comptroller would monitor national institutions and review every agreement signed that forms coalitions in the Knesset and the Zionist Congress.

“Everybody who uses public funds must be transparent and face public discourse that is open and clear,” said Herzog.

Livni boasted that as justice minister she began the process of ensuring oversight over the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund.

“The time has come to take our Zionist institutions out of the dark and bring them into the light,” Livni said. “Our state is 67 years old, and the time has come to end the tricks and shticks. No national goal justifies a lack of oversight and transparency.”

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