State Comptroller Joseph Shapira 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Judge Joseph Shapira took his oath of office as the new state comptroller in the
Knesset on Wednesday, replacing Judge Micha Lindenstrauss.
Shimon Peres and former comptroller Judge Miriam Ben-Porat attended the
ceremony, which was postponed from Monday due to former prime minister Yitzhak
Shamir’s funeral. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not attend the plenum
meeting, despite being listed as a speaker.
“I will fight fearlessly
against corruption,” Shapira said in his first speech as comptroller.
former Jerusalem District Court judge said he sees a phenomenon of politicians
avoiding decisions for fear of criticism, which must be prevented, because it is
the executive branch of government’s job to act.
As comptroller, Shapira
said, he must look for the truth and closely analyze every incident.
to the great power comptrollers are given, we must behave modestly,” he stated.
“Sharp, decisive criticism does not contradict fairness.”
In what can be
seen as a dig at his predecessor, Shapira said that “criticism that has a strong
echo that then disappears goes against the goals of this job. The mistakes
[pointed out by comptrollers] must be fixed.”
Shapira called for the
Knesset to cooperate with his office, and asked for citizens to submit their
The new comptroller ended his speech in Arabic, saying that
Arab citizens should turn to his office whenever they feel injustice, and that
he hopes for peace and cooperation in the region and within Israel.
Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) interrupted Shapira’s words in Arabic, shouting
“why not in Russian?” to which Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin responded that
Russian is not one of Israel’s official languages.
speech, Rivlin welcomed the new comptroller, calling his oath a “celebratory
“Learning lessons from the past is a requirement and a
privilege,” Rivlin said. “This is a legal and moral requirement anchored in our
Jewish and democratic values.”
Rivlin said that criticism “in real time”
and fixing government failures are the comptroller’s central jobs, and no
ministry or other body can challenge his authority in this
Knesset State Control committee chairman Uri Ariel (National
Union) told Shapira he is entering one of the most important jobs in Israel, in
which he can save lives.
Ariel, who is a kohen, concluded his speech by
blessing Shapira with the Priestly Blessing.