The dangers inherent in increased politicization of the civil service in Israel have become blatantly obvious and must therefore be stopped. Increasing the number of senior political appointments in the civil service facilitates government corruption as well as gross conflicts of interest.Yohanan Plesner, IDI President
In light of multiplying corruption allegations involving close associates to the prime minister, as well as the breaking news that the former director-general of the Ministry of Communications, Mr. Shlomo Filber, has turned state witness - IDI scholars called upon government coalition leaders to act responsibly and to stop all initiatives aimed at increasing political control over civil service appointments.
Although the facts are not all in, the events of the past week have shown how easily a bad political appointment can lead to promoting the interests of a corporation at the expense of its competitors and the public interest. It turns out that the Ministry of Communications did not suffer for lack of governance, as is often claimed by those who seek to politicize the civil service, but rather suffered from excessive political interference.
In the coming weeks, the government stands to approve the appointment of a new civil service commissioner, who will have extensive authority over more than 70,000 government employees. It is essential to appoint a professional with the necessary stature and experience, as well as an unblemished record of public service, who will be able to implement the necessary reforms in the civil service and dissipate any concern regarding conflicts of interest. This is crucial to ensure the civil service’s professionalism and integrity and to prevent the use of public resources to advance political interests.
Additionally, it is time to reconsider legislation that seeks to transform the selection process of ministerial legal counsels from a professional appointment to a political nomination. Now is the time to strengthen the guardians of our democracy and ensure their professional integrity and independence.