zelekha hirschon biz 88 .
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As the corruption scandal within the Israel Tax Authority continues to take its toll, embattled Accountant-General Dr. Yaron Zelekha attacked the government over the growing level of hidden corruption he said the country was permitting.
"The State of Israel is more corrupt than it might appear to an observer from the outside. The situation in the country is serious and requires reinforced supervision, inspection and control mechanisms," Zelekha said this week during a conference on corruption in the public administration held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "Israel won 34th place on the World Corruption Index. We're lucky that the researchers are unaware of the entire truth."
In the annual Global Corruption Report for 2006 published by Transparency International, Israel was ranked 34 out of 163 countries, dropping six spots since last year. Israel received a score of 5.9 in comparison to 6.3 in 2005. The country was joined by Brazil, Cuba, Jordan, Laos, Seychelles and Trinidad and Tobago, whose rankings on the corruption scale also plummeted according to the 2006 report published in November. The three countries considered most corrupt were Iraq, Myanmar and Haiti.
The report emphasized that political leadership in Israel should set an example for the public, or else the corruption situation could continue to deteriorate.
"Once Israelis would be offended when their country was compared to a South American republic, today those who would get offended are the South Americans," said Zelekha.
In an attack against the country's system and governance, Zelekha said that many had recently spoken against those fighting corruption, claiming that a mountain was being made out of a mole hill.
"These same people are using their good name in order to testify that they have not encountered any improper norms," said Zelekha. "What we have here is the modern version of "the three monkeys," referring to the proverb "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
Zelekha spoke in favor of the need to tighten supervision and inspection through more internal auditors in the governmental offices.
"Today their status is low and their promotion depends mainly on those being inspected and this is not a normal situation," he claimed. "The internal auditors are weak and unfelt and are being used as a cover-up for non-normative behavior."
Zelekha has been facing his own problems recently with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert claiming last month that he wanted to fire Zelekha a year ago for "improper and subversive activity towards his colleagues."