Legal Adviser to the Government, Gali Beharve-Miara, published her activity diary.
The published diary is contrary to the procedure for publishing diaries established by the Ministry of Justice, as well as to the position she herself recently presented in court.
The published diary of the ombudsman lacks significant pieces of information that the procedure requires to be specified in it. The ombudsman's office stated that the diary is published proactively and not within the framework of freedom of information, therefore it is not subject to the rules.
In July 2022, the Legal Advisor to the Government, Gali Beharve-Miara, published her first activity diary of the term - for the months of February-April 2022. Later, Beharve-Miara published a diary for the months of May-October.
At the top of the page on the website of the Ministry of Justice where the diary is published, it was announced: "Legal Adviser to the Government, Gali Beharev-Miara, publishes her diary for public inspection, believing in the importance of transparency and freedom of information."
Rabbi Miara at her inauguration ceremony, photo: Oren Ben Hakon
However, the publication of the diary is contrary to the provisions of the diary publication procedure of the Freedom of Information Unit of the Ministry of Justice.
If that is not enough, then it is contrary to the position of the ombudsman herself, as she presented it last June in the Supreme Court in the petition of the "Success" association to publish the diary of a senior member of the Tel Aviv Municipality.
Beharve-Miara then wrote to the Supreme Court Justices that "the position of the Legal Advisor to the Government is that the provisions of the aforementioned procedure reflect the proper manner of handling requests for the delivery of the diaries of elected officials, or public employees", and that "the more senior level it is, the greater the public interest in reviewing the full diary" .
As mentioned, the ombudsman herself, a very senior rank, who, according to her position, the public interest in reviewing the full diary is higher, violates the instructions of the procedure. For example, according to the procedure, in order to preserve the authenticity of the information in the diary, it must be published in the format of the Outlook software in which It is managed, while the ombudsman publishes in an Excel file.
Department of Justice.
Establish a uniform procedure, photo: Oren Ben Hakon
"Do not omit information"
The ombudsman compiled the diary in such a way that she actually chose which information to reveal to the public and which not. However, the procedure states that "when there is a reason for not providing information, the information must not be omitted altogether, but must be blacked out while stating the specific reason for the blacking out." The ombudsman violates It hides the instruction completely, does not black out and does not specify the reason for the concealment.
The procedure also states that when a professional meeting is held with office employees and even citizens, the topic of the meeting and the names of the participants must be published.
The ombudsman violates the procedure when she chooses to arbitrarily specify a "working meeting". Only sometimes does she specify the topic of the meeting, but does not specify the names or positions of the employees who were present at the meeting.
Violation section by section, photo: Herzi Shapira
Even when a meeting is held with a citizen, the binding procedure states, if it deals with public issues - then the name of the citizen and the topic of the meeting must be published.
The ombudsman also violated this procedure and in several cases was satisfied with "a meeting with a former ombudsman".
In two other cases she chose to reveal the citizens with whom she met, but not the subjects of the meeting.
There were meetings with the director of the legal department at the Ecclesiastical Forum as well as with the president of the Israel Democracy Institute.
It should be noted that the publication of the initiative diary with partial information, began back in the time of the previous ombudsman, Avichai Mandelblit, who was also content with noting "a meeting with an academic".
Start the "neighborhood" around the theme, photo: Emil Salman
To Israel Hayom's request, the office of the ombudsman stated that indeed the diary is not published according to the rules of freedom of information, since it is a voluntary voluntary publication. "The voluntary publication does not constitute the provision of information in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law and the procedure of the governmental unit for freedom of information does not apply to it in any case" stated her office of Bharb-Miara.
Attorney Elad Man from the "Success" association, responded to the request of "Israel Today" and submitted a request to the Freedom of Information Department of the Ministry of Justice to receive the diary, this time, in accordance with the rules of freedom of information. As mentioned - the ombudsman claims that she publishes proactively and therefore she does not have to obey the rules of freedom of information, but when the diary was requested under the freedom of information law, she claimed that she does not have to obey the law because she already publishes proactively.
The Freedom of Information Department's response states that "the initiative publication began during the time of the previous Attorney General and out of a desire to increase transparency and make the information accessible to the general public, without the need to submit requests under the Freedom of Information Law for this matter."
The Ministry of Justice building in Jerusalem.
Didn't understand the exercise?, Photo: Oren Ben Hakon
The department also claimed that the information appearing in the censored diary is sufficient, despite the fact that it does not comply with the rules of freedom of information.
"The details presented as part of the initiative publication fulfill, to a very large extent, the public interest in receiving information freely, subject to the principles found in the Freedom of Information Law that allow certain details to be protected for various reasons," it says.
It is also claimed that publishing a diary of only one year borders on an unreasonable allocation of resources.
Let's recall that even the Prime Ministers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett, published a diary which required a careful examination by the members of their bureau and the Shin Bet. It was also noted that "the gap between it and the publication according to the procedure for publishing diaries of the governmental unit for freedom of information with all its limitations, is not great at all."
Netanyahu and Bennett.
published their diaries as prime ministers, photo: Uri Lentz
The discrepancies between the publication of the diary and the rules of freedom of information were presented to the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Justice, and they stated that "the diary of the Legal Adviser to the Government has been published in its entirety since she took office, proactively and regularly every quarter. This is out of a desire to increase transparency and make the information accessible to the general public. You can review the published information in full on the official website of the Ministry of Justice".
They also added and said in the Ministry of Justice that "to the extent that any party is interested in expanding on this or that matter that is proactively published, his request will be considered acceptable. In the meantime, with a forward-looking view, we will continue to examine the possibility of proactively publishing more information to the public, from the concept of the consultation Attorney General that the government must act proactively to increase transparency towards the public."
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