To date, the Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman (the Office) has received over 1,000 complaints relating to the coronavirus crisis. Most of the complaints concern the National Insurance Institute, followed by the health services and the Tax Authority. Additional complaints were received about the Amidar National Housing Company, the Israel Postal Company and others.
The Office has finished investigating about half of the complaints, and some 79% have been found justified or were rectified to the satisfaction of the complainant.
Thus, for example, the case of a complainant who had been in quarantine for a month. She contacted the Office and claimed that she had been in quarantine for such a long time since the results of the tests for diagnosing the illness were delayed and the Ministry of Health was not responding to her inquiries. Immediately after the Office made inquiries with the Ministry of Health, the regional doctor contacted the complainant; his investigation disclosed that the previous tests of the complainant had gone missing. That very same day, Magen David Adom medics went to the complainant's house in order to conduct an additional test. Two days later, the results of the test showed negative, and even the previous tests which had meanwhile been located showed negative. The Office found that the complaint was justified and in addition to the immediate aid that was given to the complainant, the Office pointed out to the Ministry of Health the need to study the case and learn the necessary lessons for the future.
Meanwhile, and after receiving the approval of the relevant authorized bodies, on 30 May 2020 the reception bureaus of the Office of the Ombudsman reopened their doors to the public – in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Nazareth, Lod and Be'er Sheva.
The State Comptroller and Ombudsman: "The importance of handling a specific complaint is that it is also possible to learn from it about a widespread problem. In these cases, the Office points out the need to rectify the general defect, both in order to alleviate as much as possible the harm already caused by it and to prevent future harm to others. I appeal to the citizens to contact the Office when needed, either by visiting one of the reception bureaus or by digital means, by email or via the State Comptroller website".
Examples of other complaints received:
National Insurance Institute (NII): A payment order went out – but unemployment benefit was delayed
The Office's investigation of several complaints concerning a delay in the payment of unemployment benefit disclosed a technical problem in the NII computer system, which was causing the delay in the payment of the benefit. Following the Office's investigation, the NII located all the cases affected by the problem; the Office continued to monitor the actions of the NII until the complainants received the benefit.
Amidar National Housing Company stopped rental assistance – and the landlord threatened to evict a disabled single mother from her apartment
The complainant, a disabled single mother, contacted the Office after Amidar had stopped paying her rental assistance without prior notice and she had been unable to make contact with the company for three weeks. The complainant requested the Office's immediate assistance, claiming that the landlord was threatening to evict her from the apartment and that without rental assistance, she could not pay the rent. Following the Office's intervention, Amidar immediately renewed the rental assistance and the money was deposited in the complainant's bank account on the eve of the Passover festival. In a conversation with the lawyer who had investigated the complaint, the complainant confirmed receipt of the rental assistance, thanked the Office and described the Office's handling of her complaint as "lifesaving" for her.
Through the intervention of the Office: The postal item of a high-risk complainant was directed to a delivery centre near her place of residence
A complainant contacted the Office after receiving notification that a postal item was waiting to be collected from a delivery centre far from her home. The complainant claimed that she did not have a car and that since she belonged to a high-risk class, she was afraid to use public transport during the coronavirus period. Following the intervention of the Office, the Israel Postal Company agreed to direct the item to a delivery centre that was nearer to the complainant's place of residence.
Do you want to file a complaint?
The reception bureaus of the Office have reopened their doors to the public throughout the country – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Be'er Sheva, Lod and Nazareth. The bureaus will be open to the public during reception hours, subject to the directives of the Ministry of Health.
For your convenience and for the safety of your health, you may also contact the Office of the Ombudsman by means of an online form and by email email@example.com. It is also possible to contact the Office by regular mail or fax.