When it comes to getting its way, the Finance Ministry will go to no end to force other governmental bodies to bend to its will.
By Hagai Kalai
Like public authorities in Israel, the Ministry of Finance aims to promote public interest to the best of its understanding. However, like all public authorities, the ministry suffers from a narrow perspective: it gives higher value to its own policies, while undervaluing the importance of proper administrative process. Yet, while most public authorities try and promote their agenda through the standard legitimate government mechanisms, the Ministry of Finance has developed a long line of sophisticated mechanisms that enable it to avoid the “burden” of proper administrative process. For example, the mechanism of budgetary adjustments during a budget year has been used for many years order to promote a hidden budget – one that is not truly supervised by the Knesset.
Similarly, the Ministry of Finance does not hesitate to allocate public funds for campaigns against other governmental offices, such as the Ministry of Environmental Protection, when it dares to hold opinions that are not aligned with the Ministry of Finance’s perspective (or even worse: when those opinions are preferred by policymakers to those offered by the Ministry).
Among this wide variety of mechanisms used by the Ministry of Finance to force its opinions on other public bodies, is one used to reduce the power of the courts.
As a general matter, the court will not intervene in decisions based on economic analysis, even if said analysis is deeply flawed. The court will intervene only in one of three situations: if the decision leads to non-proportional violation of human rights, contradicts the law or if the decision is extremely unreasonable.
Even this limited court supervision, it seems, is too much for the Ministry of Finance. Thus, a solution was found. Instead of arguing in favor of its policies before the court, the ministry prefers to force its policies upon the court by enacting them while the legal process is still standing, often in direct violation of the court’s order.
This took place surrounding the discussions surrounding the budget for public medical...Read More