State Comptroller presents the Ombudsman's Report 370.
(photo credit: Knesset Speaker's Office)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Wednesday published a report on public
complaints, highlighting the mistreatment of Holocaust survivors and the
mishandling of special education students.
Shapira presented the report
to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein at 8:30 a.m.
“The Ombudsman’s Office is
an important tool for cleaning house and repairing injustices,” Edelstein said.
“I call on citizens to continue using this tool.”
Edelstein added that
people should not see complaining as a nuisance or petty. Rather, they should
remember that one complaint from a Holocaust survivor, for example, can help
thousands of others, and a complaint of one parent can change the entire
Regarding Holocaust survivors, Shapira said that
complaints focused on defects in the process of addressing requests to be
recognized and receive benefits as a survivor.
He also noted complaints
regarding the delay and process for increasing payments to survivors once they
had become sicker and entitled to increased payments, and regarding the failure
to grant discounts to survivors entitled to discounts for
Shapira said that “recognizing the suffering that
Holocaust survivors have endured, their advanced age and the commitments made to
them by Israeli society,” he would “do all he could in order to aid them to
realize their rights promptly.”
Regarding special education students, the
report showed that in 2012, parents of children with intellectual disabilities
in the southern city of Netivot complained to the municipality for failing to
fund long school days for their children, a failure that created significant
obstacles in their daily lives.
The municipality at first dismissed the
request on the grounds of an insufficient budget, but ended up addressing the
matter after parents pointed out that local authorities are legally required to
fund at least a quarter of the expenses for long school days of children with
The report noted that 2012 was a record in
many statistical areas, with 15,123 complaints submitted – an increase of 1.63
percent from 2011.
Approximately 27% of the total complaints that were
fully reviewed were found to be justified.
The leading offender – with
complaints filed against it found to be valid – was the Television Authority,
with over 50% of the complaints filed being declared valid, while the Defense
Ministry finished close behind, with 42% of the complaints filed against it
being found to be valid.
But Shapira viewed the increase in complaints as
a positive sign.
“One of the reasons for the increasing trend [of
complaints] in recent years is the actions of the regional bureaus” in
increasing accessibility to the general public, Shapira said.
that in recent years, the State Comptroller’s Office had opened regional
locations “across the nation, in Beersheba, Nazareth, Upper Nazareth, Lod,” and
in December even opened its newest office in Kiryat Shmona.
appeared to be highlighting one of his key goals of reaching out to the weaker
socioeconomic sectors of society, emphasizing that he could better defend the
interests of these sectors, especially in the periphery, if they had easier
access to submit complaints.
Next, Shapira highlighted the success of
arbitration in resolving a variety of societal disputes.
taught that this was one of the most efficient ways of resolving disputes
between the individual and the authorities, and had yielded solutions which
satisfied the positions of both sides” of disputes, he said.
expressed an interest in widening the arbitration trend as well as employing
more social workers to deal with disputes.
The report also addresses
discrimination against women and reviews the activities of every government
ministry and of several major municipalities.
It treats failures by the
police to honor suspects’ rights and failures related to immigration and border
issues.Danielle Ziri and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.