(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Zionist Union candidate Tzipi Livni and Meretz criticized Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid Tuesday for his anti-corruption plan.
According to the plan, anyone convicted of a crime that includes moral turpitude will never be allowed to serve as a minister or member of Knesset again instead of the current seven- year cooling-off period. Public figures who are called into a police investigation will no longer have the right to remain silent, as Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog did in 1999. Any minister or member of Knesset who is charged by the police will leave their post immediately.
Speaking at an Israel Democracy Institute event on political corruption in Jerusalem, Livni said Lapid had a poor record on preventing political corruption.
“On Election Day, you will decide with your vote whether or not you will have politicians who are corrupt,” Livni told the crowd. “Check what the politicians did before.”
Livni accused Lapid of preventing anti-corruption reforms from passing, preventing transparency in the ministerial committee on legislation, and enabling large sums of money to be transferred from the government to settlement construction in his role as finance minister.
She said ministers were given the state budget close to midnight and not given an opportunity to review it before voting.
She said that as justice minister, she lowered the price of freedom of information requests. She said that if she is in the next government, she would cancel the World Zionist Organization’s settlement division, which she said was not transparent enough.
Meretz complained that Lapid opposed legislation by the party that would have required transparency in the defense budget and would have forced MKs in the Knesset Finance Committee to reveal their investments in stocks.
“Lapid must stop insulting the public’s intelligence with dishonest plans that are intended to cover up his own failures,” a Meretz spokeswoman said.
Speaking at the same IDI conference as Livni, Lapid dared the other parties to sign on to his anti-corruption plan. He promised that he would not enter any coalition that would not strengthen the attorney- general and state comptroller, so they would not have to think twice about whether to publish a report, as he believes they do now.
“We are ashamed that we have to fight to live in a country that is not corrupt,” he said.
IDI president Yohanan Plesner, a former Kadima MK, said elections were an opportunity to put key issues like fighting corruption in government on the table.
“When the public does not trust its leaders, it endangers our democracy,” he said. “We need to demand our leaders keep their promises and change the system.”