Avigdor Lieberman. A month ago, the ministerial committee on the constitution approved a bill submitted by the transport minister to change the way the head of the Civil Aviation Authority is chosen.
The story began when Lieberman wanted to appoint his colleague Igor Weisbord to the post, but the professional appointment committee did not consider him suitable and rejected the candidacy.
Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander, the attorney general Menachem Mazuz, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid and Minister in the treasury Meir Sheetrit all oppose the bill, but this doesn't rattle Lieberman. He wants his friends to get the job, and every means to achieve this is fine by him, including ignoring all public norms or professional considerations. Who is to stop him? Will a High Court petition do the trick? Could MKs pull the rug from under his legislative plans?
Avraham Poraz. One of the greatest mysteries in Israel is how much the settlements really cost. The Finance Ministry does not release figures and every minister has a field day when he transfers monies from his budget as he sees fit.
This year the state comptroller investigated the Housing Ministry and found that under Minister Effi Eitam, the ministry has channeled tens of millions of shekels to encourage illegal building in the territories, at the very same sites that the security forces are moving to evacuate.
The Interior Ministry, under former minister Eli Yishai, transferred NIS 60 million to the settlements every year as "security grants." This year, Interior Minister Poraz says he refuses to continue the practice, but the treasury forced him to hand the money over. To effect this, the treasury unilaterally transferred the money while changing the clauses on the Interior Ministry's budget which effectively stopped the ministry from taking a single shekel from its reserve funds without treasury say-so.
But Poraz didn't give in. He sent a sharp letter to Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In conclusion, the treasury capitulated, passed billions through on the required clauses, but left NIS 20 million in the reserve fund, for future arguments.
Here's another topic for the state comptroller to look into. How much money has the Interior Ministry passed to the settlements? What is the connection between the ministry's work and "security grants"? Why does the treasury transfer the funds in such a roundabout way? Are there set criteria for the allocation of the funds?
Izzy Borovich. At one of the events Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer attended during his lightning visit to Israel last week, Izzy Borovich, CEO and owner of Arkia airlines spoke. Among other things, Borovich said, "a monopoly is good for the people." He was trying to compliment Microsoft, which is considered a global monopoly, and consequently earns much criticism from all sides.
But since when is a monopoly good for the people? A monopoly is good for its owners and bad for the people, since it raises prices and lowers supply and quality. But maybe a monopoly begins to be "good for the people" when Borovich wants to merge El Al and Arkia, thus establishing a "good" airline monopoly.
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