State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Sunday censured the problems the government
has been having with ensuring distribution of gas masks on the home front, in
the shadow of a possible Syrian attack.
In a recent report and again in a
public letter, Shapira drew attention to the shortages, long lines and general
inefficiencies that have left many citizens undefended in the event of a
chemical weapons attack.
Shapira especially condemned instances in which
foreign workers, including those caring for the elderly and the disabled, were
refused gas masks by the authorities distributing them.
Sunday, Shapira criticized the government’s “Nativ” program for problematic
connections with Ariel University Center (AUC) and for problems with targeting
populations outside of its mandate, disregarding directives on financial issues
The program, which deals with immigration and
absorption of immigrants to Israel from former Soviet Union countries, is
technically under the umbrella of the Prime Minister’s Office but is also run by
the Foreign Ministry.
Nativ includes both people who are already
considered Jewish under Jewish law and those who immigrated to Israel despite
being considered non-Jews or with complications as to their status.
of the program is designed to increase the immigrants’ identification with
Israel and being Jewish.
Regarding AUC, the report said that Nativ had
improperly and in an unbalanced way diverted to AUC resources and immigrants
with whom it had connections, rather than equally dealing with Israel’s
The report specifically slams the liaisons of the program
for ignoring government directives on the population it is targeting, finding
that sometimes Nativ has spent funds on residents in FSU countries with neither
connection to Israel or the Jewish community nor any possible right to
Next, the report says that Nativ has cultural programs that raise
the suspicion that they do not fulfill their designated purposes but were
organized merely to obtain and spend more government funds. Some even appear to
encourage or assist immigrants in living or moving to other places besides
Also, Nativ has not had to justify recent large increases in its
budget in any organized way other than to identify programs in which it wishes
to spend the funds.
The report also complains about poor coordination
with government offices, which in some cases led Nativ to try to run programs
already being run by the Foreign Ministry.
Shapira said that Nativ had
ignored prior comptroller and government decisions and reports in 1998 and 2007
pushing to better coordinate efforts and information with the Foreign Ministry
and the Interior Ministry.
Even where government ministries have policies
on the books for oversight of Nativ, the report found that no oversight was
In addition, the report noted Nativ funding
expensive foreign trips that were not in line with achieving the program’s
Nativ has existed in some form since 1952, but its resources were
heavily increased by the state in 1999, and over the years it has expanded its
reach to various European countries as well.
Although a draft of the
report was submitted in October 2012 to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign
Ministry and the chairman of the Knesset State Control Committee, only Sunday
was it first made public.
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