Friday, May 11, 2007

What a State!

The State Comptroller, Mischa Lindenstrauss, has just issued his Report for the year 2006. The J. Post is full of excerpts focussing on different aspects of the Government, and what a sorry state of affairs it is.
Of course, I should read the original, but since its a huge tome, and all in Hebrew, no way. So I take the usual journalist's short cut, and simply read the headlines in the Post. So here are a few examples: "State Comptroller excoriates army, government for range of failures," "IDF failed to effectively tackle threats of arms tunnels, Kassams," "Govt. failed to estimate true cost of withdrawal," "Numerous Tax Authority offices falsifying numbers of fines levied," "Directive to insure vacations abroad ignored," "Outdated system of weights and measures hurting growth," "Embassy in London singled out for improper hiring," "National Lottery Board improperly influenced dispensation of funds," "Benefits at Central Bank criticized as 'excessive'," "Religious services plagued by nepotism," "In attempt to self-audit, Knesset pays out extravagant and unnecessary sums," and "National budget mismanagement." I think you get the picture!
These criticisms are impressive and show the transparency of the Israeli system. But, the big drawback of this system is that no funds are specifically allocated to ensure that the Comptroller's recommendations are implemented, and he has no legal authority to enforce his recommendations. As a consequence the Report is replete with list of recommendations from previous year's reports that have not yet been either corrected or implemented. So what's the point, we know what's wrong, but noone here has any sense of shame, they just issue statements saying that it's not their fault and they have no money to correct the problem. Some people should go to jail, in the London Embassy, in the Knesset and some should be fired, in the Govt. and the IDF. But, it won't happen. So the system of circumvented responsibility thrives.


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