Comptroller denies request to keep migrants report confidential

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira's report may be critical of government officials who erred in dealing with migrants.

African migrants protest in Tel Aviv (photo credit: LAUREN IZSO)
African migrants protest in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: LAUREN IZSO)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Sunday rejected the Prime Minister’s Office request to make an upcoming report on the migrants issue confidential.
The report, which is expected to be published in May, contains sections relating to “foreigners who cannot be expelled from Israel,” which presumably are critical and may even name government officials responsible for certain errors.
Shapira said that there was no basis to impose confidentiality on the document, a measure usually reserved for sections of a report involving national security, such as portions of a recent one on the operations of an elite naval unit.
He added that in that light he also would decline to ask the Knesset State Control Committee to impose confidentiality on the report, and that if the Prime Minister’s Office wanted to do so, it could make the request itself.
The Prime Minister’s Office shot back that the original draft of the report that it had seen described “the legal position of the attorney-general which has guided the government in its handling of the infiltrators issue and was likely to cause harm to the State of Israel’s foreign policy.”
The statement continued that, in that light, the director- general of the Prime Minister’s Office requested that the comptroller discuss the issue further with Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, and that Shapira impose confidentiality on his report in the event of continued disagreement.
However, the statement said that Shapira discussed the issue further with Weinstein and altered the substance of his report, such that the Prime Minister’s Office no longer had an open request to impose confidentiality.
The statement concluded by promising that the prime minister would continue to fight the phenomenon of infiltrators, in an effort to persuade more of them to return to their countries, citing statistics that no infiltrators have entered Israeli cities since March 2013 (by which time the new Sinai border fence was complete) and 4,164 have left the country.