'Halutz Law' Up for Knesset Vote Today

The second and third vote on the 'Halutz Law,' which will require office holders in the public sector to deposit all of their securities to blind escrow accounts within 60 days of their appointment, is scheduled to be held in the Knesset today.

The bill, initiated by MK Silvan Shalom (Likud), was inspired by controversially timed instructions given by former chief of staff Dan Halutz last July 12, just a few hours after the kidnapping of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, and a few hours before the outbreak of the second Lebanon war.

If approved, the bill will come into force on January 1, 2008 and affect the president, ministers, deputy ministers, Knesset members, chief of staff, police commissioner, the governor of the Bank of Israel and his deputy, the attorney general, and various other officers of government bodies.

Although the proposed law will also apply to spouses, minor children and dependents of public officer holders, Shalom was persuaded to remove judges from the list at the request of representatives of the courts and judges.

The state comptroller was also not included in the list, since he is charged with enforcement of the law, and no appropriate entity was found to regulate his adherence to the new law.

Officers will be required to obtain approval of the amounts deposited from the state comptroller, who will be charged with enforcement of the law.

The state comptroller will also be charged with the appointment of a committee that will consider requests for exceptions to the proposed law.