State Comptroller Joseph Shapira 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Over five years after the government’s official mandate to transfer all national
units of parliament to Jerusalem – with the exception of regional offices –
implementation of the landmark undertaking has significantly failed, according
to the latest State Comptroller Report.
The decision to relocate the
offices was made in May 2007 in accordance with the Basic Law stating that the
capital “is the seat of government is Jerusalem.”
contended that concentrating all its activity in the capital was a key means of
strengthening the city politically, socially and economically.
the addition of thousands of jobs and hundreds of thousands of square meters of
office buildings would substantially increase property taxes and general
commerce transactions, improving the capital’s present economic woes, the
The government resolution, entitled “Moving the
national units of government to Jerusalem” stipulated that nearly all government
offices will be “gradually transferred” into the municipal boundaries of
Jerusalem by 2015.
The decision was made in coordination with the Prime
Minister’s Office, Government Housing Administration, Finance Ministry and
Jerusalem Development Authority, the report stated.
The director of the
Prime Minister’s Office was subsequently charged with formulating an
implementation team to devise a “master plan” to move government offices to the
capital within the stated eight-year window.
The master plan, the report
stated, was to develop roughly 130,000 sq.m. of land to house 95 national units
from 20 government agencies.
From April-August 2012 the State
Comptroller’s Office – with assistance from the Jerusalem Municipality, Civil
Service Commission, Government Companies Authority and Planning Administration
of the Interior Ministry – examined the resolution’s implementation.
report found that there has been incomplete preparation for the plan, resulting
in the continued, and significant, delay of government relocation to the
While the report found that the Housing Administration acted in
recent years to create structures designed to populate different units of
government offices – primarily including the planned expansion of the David
Ben-Gurion government compound – those efforts have failed.
found that the compound presently will only provide approximately 15 percent of
the total space necessary to transfer all government offices, and is still many
years away from the expansion necessary to meet the government’s housing
Furthermore, the report found that the staff charged with securing
funding for construction costs has failed to do so. As a result, the government
decided that the Housing Administration can only authorize leases, renovation or
construction related to the transfer of the government units with the approval
of an “Exceptions Committee,” headed by the Prime Minister’s Office’s director,
the report stated.
This protocol was repeatedly breached, the report
stated, when it was determined that the Housing Administration approved leases,
or sought alternative housing, in several instances without seeking the
Additionally, the Exceptions Committee rejected the
requests of the Development of the Negev and Galilee Ministry, and Culture and
Sports Ministry to move to Jerusalem, the report stated.
Comptroller’s report found that with few exceptions, no substantive action plan
has been implemented to encourage government units to move to the capital,
resulting in a decree that the Government Companies Authority examine which
units will be required to make the move.
The report continued that the
plan to have government units relocated has been significantly delayed due to an
incomplete action plan delineating sources of financing, monitoring
implementation and even determining a viable time frame.
The report added
that leadership of the move has been ostensibly abdicated, with few alternatives
presented for remedying the situation.
The report emphasized that
“practical action” is required of the Government Companies Authority, as well as
local government, to further examine the impasse and create a blueprint
necessary to implement the transfer of government agencies to the
“The State Comptroller’s Office believes it is desirable that
this report will impart the substantial gaps in the implementation of the
government’s decision to move its units to Jerusalem and promote cooperation in
finding a detailed solution,” it concluded.