The comptroller. Exactly one day has passed, and the State Comptroller's Report has already been forgotten. All the problems and corruption it unveiled have been pushed aside in favor of other, more urgent crises. This is extremely frustrating.
One reason this happens is that the comptroller does not name guilty parties in his report. He gives their titles and describes their sins, but he does not take the necessary step of exposing them to the general public. As a result, his criticisms are toothless. They neither scare nor deter, and are quickly forgotten.
Only personal exposure could change public attitudes toward the report. Obviously, it would then be necessary to give those who are criticized a right of reply, but the report would be much more effective.
Milk. In response to last Friday's Bottom Line on the milk crisis, I received a number of letters from angry dairymen who, of course, support Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz's plan to raise milk prices. That is quite understandable.
But it turns out that Katz is not stopping there. He also wants to transfer milk production quotas from the kibbutzim to the moshavim - whose members, as it happens, are also his bloc of voters in the Likud Central Committee.
For this purpose, Katz took the power to take quotas away from the Milk Board and tried to give them to a trustee who would act on his behalf - Eli Journeau, a member of Moshav Azrikam and also a member of the Likud Central Committee. He first tried to oust Ziv Matalon, the deputy director of the Milk Board.
The only problem was that the Milk Board's board of directors, which discussed the matter, expressed full confidence in Matalon and rejected the minister's request. Next, Katz tried to make Journeau the "milk quota coordinator," a new job created especially for him. But the board rejected this request as well, since the job would be a pure waste of farmers' money. Perhaps now the kibbutzims' support for the minister will wane.
Health. The periodic crisis in the health system was ostensibly solved last week, but the "solution" was no more effective than an aspirin for a cancer patient. An extra NIS 100 million for the system, plus a few minor changes, will not end the chronic deficits arising from a flawed structure and uneconomic management.
The major problems were not addressed at all. Hospital administrators are still operating units that will send them into the red, such as the catheterization center at Poriya Hospital in Tiberias. The Health Ministry is still running the Student Health Services program, which has run through its entire annual budget in half a year. The ministry also decided to reduce the number of beds in psychiatric hospitals instead of closing down two of them - which would have produced a real savings.
There is no need for several transplant units in Israel - one large and experienced one would suffice. This is also true of neurosurgery departments. The fact that every group of 15 beds is given the status of a ward, with a ward administrator, a staff and other unnecessary expenses, also contributes to the system's inefficiency.
And it is obvious that four medical schools are too many for such a small country. So, all we can do is wait patiently for the next health crisis.
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