On 23 January 2022, the Israeli Government announced the establishment of a state commission of inquiry into ‘the submarine affair’ [suspected corruption and bribery pertaining to a $2-billion procurement deal with a German shipbuilder] and the conduct on the matter of the political echelon under then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Zulat welcomes the establishment of the committee, but seeks to overturn the decision concerning the publicity of its deliberations. The government has chosen to impose a blackout on its sessions, even though the law stipulates that meetings of inquiry commissions must be open to the public. We seek to reverse this decision and allow the public to access all the deliberations, except in special cases when certain details need to remain confidential.
Here is what Zulat’s executive director Einat Ovadia wrote in her letter to Defense Minister Benny Gantz:
“In the submarine affair in particular, publicity is critical to preserve the public’s trust in state commission of inquiry, given that from the outset the positions for and against its establishment were painted in intense political colors and that a significant part of the Israeli public believes it is a political body whose sole role is to persecute former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. A commission operating in the dark might only deepen the rifts in Israeli society and intensify the conspiracy theories and fake news that are an integral part of the political campaign waged by the former prime minister and his supporters. In light of all of the above, we ask you to amend the decision and declare the deliberations of the commission and the minutes of its sessions open to the public.”
>> For the full policy paper read “Ensuring Transparency: Opening the Proceedings of Inquiry and Inspection Commissions to the Public”