• Open to the public
  • Live
  • Hebrew
  • English simultaneous translation

Government Corruption and Populism

The Israel Democracy Institute, in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, is sponsoring an online conference on Government Corruption and Populism. The conference marks the launch of several studies conducted by researchers at IDI's Center for Democratic Values and Institutions, focusing on the Center's Campaign to Combat Public Corruption.

To join us for a special broadcast of this conference with simultaneous translation click here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89369996655

The conference will serve as a venue for an academic and professional discussion based on local and international knowledge and experience; and, presenting new policy studies; providing an opportunity for professional and public discussion of these studies, and for promoting policy recommendations. Its goal is to influence the perception of the campaign against government corruption and to further the implementation of the policy recommendations by policymakers, professionals, academics, and the public at large. 

The conference’s three sessions will feature leading professionals and experts representing diverse specialties and positions on the campaign against government corruption.

The opening session focuses on the relationship between the campaign against government corruption, public opinion, and the populistic environment, and discuss public awareness as a key element in the war against government corruption and in the perception of the campaign as legitimate. The discussion will be based on the findings of a survey conducted in November 2020 that investigated the public’s view of the government corruption and the impact of social and political processes on it. The speakers will review the lessons that can be drawn from Italy's public opinion on government corruption and the links between corruption and populism. The session will also include a presentation of a publication in progress aimed at ensuring that the issue of government corruption resonates more effectively in the public discourse.

The second session will deal with institutional issues in the campaign against government corruption and the influence of populism.” It will open with an examination of the status of whistleblowers, in Israel and internationally, and a comparison of the regulations on their activity in various government and legal systems, based on a research presented by the Oxford scholar Dr. Ioannis Kampourakis. An IDI study that examines several models of anticorruption agencies and outlines the structure of the agency it recommends be established in Israel, is the basis for the second part of the session. The session will examine the Israel Democracy Institute's study and its proposal, recommending the establishment of an agency to address the issue on a system-wide level. A comparison of such agencies in other countries and the lessons that can be drawn from such a comparison will be presented by a renowned expert, Prof. John Heilbrunn. This will be followed by a panel of senior Israeli law-enforcement professionals past and present. We will also discuss the influence of populistic processes on these institutional elements and on the image of the campaign against government corruption.

The third session will focus on “The Threat of Government Corruption during Economic Crises and Recessions, and against the Backdrop of Populism.” The current economic crisis in Israel and the world, and the recession that is expected to follow in the wake of the pandemic of 2020, are liable to have an impact the risk of government corruption. Key international organizations, such as the World Bank and the OECD, have warned of this. We are honored to host Dr. Julio Dr. Julio Bacio Terracino, Acting Head of Division, Public Sector Integrity, Directorate for Public Governance, OECD to present us with these issues. The discussion, in which senior Israeli economic and government figures will take part, will examine these threats, taking into account both international insights and Israel’s unique situation, governmental structure, and social and political processes, including those that can be defined as populistic. The session’s goal is to identify these threats and recommend ways to counter them.

12:00–12:15 Opening Remarks 

Justice Dorit Beinish (retired), Former President of the Supreme Court and Chair of the steering committee of the Campaign against Public Corruption Program at the Israel Democracy Institute

Dr. Alexander Brakel, Director of the Israel office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation

12:15 – 14:00: First Session: Government Corruption and Populism: The Chronicles of Consciousness Process

Moderator: Prof. Yuval Shany, Vice President for Research, Israel Democracy Institute

Prof. Tamar Hermann, Academic Director, Guttman Center of Public Opinion and Policy Research, Israel Democracy Institute

Prof. Yuval Feldman, Senior Fellow, Israel Democracy Institute

Dr. Noam Gidron, Department of Political Science, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Alon Altaras, writer, poet, and translator 

Dr. Tamar Hostovsky Brandes, Faculty of Law, Ono Academic College

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, Senior Fellow, Israel Democracy Institute

14:30 – 16:30 Second Session: From Top to Bottom: Exposing and Preventing Corruption

Moderator: Adv. Edna Harel Fisher, Director of the Public Corruption program, Israel Democracy Institute

Ioannis Kampourakis, Faculty of Law. University of Oxford

Adv. Orly Levinson-Sela, former Deputy Director of the Ombudsman Bureau, Office of the State Comptroller 

Prof. John R. Heilbrunn, Associate Professor, The Colorado School of Mines

Adv. Amit Merari, Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Law, Ministry of Justice

Major General (retired) Meni Itzhaki, Israel Police

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, Senior Fellow, Israel Democracy Institute

Summary: Justice Dorit Beinish (retired), Former President of the Supreme Court


17:00 – 19:00 Third Session: From One Pocket to Another: Government Corruption in an Economic Crisis on the Backdrop of Populist Trends

Moderator: Yohanan Plesner, President, Israel Democracy Institute

Dr. Julio Bacio Terracino, Acting Head of the Division on Integrity in the Public Sector, Directorate for Public Governance, OECD

Prof. Karnit Flug, Vice President for Research, Israel Democracy Institute

Aaron Fogel, Chairman of Ayalon Holdings and Former Director General, Ministry of Finance 

Prof. Guy Rolnik, Associate Publisher, Haaretz; Founder and former editor in chief of The Marker

Summary: Prof. Yuval Shany, Vice-President for Research, Israel Democracy Institute