On 24.06.2019, the State Comptroller and Ombudsman, Judge (ret.) Joseph Haim Shapira, published (in Hebrew) the Annual Report 45 of the Office of the Ombudsman for the year 2018.
This is the seventh and last ombudsman report to be presented in the term of office of Judge (ret.) Joseph Haim Shapira as State Comptroller and Ombudsman.
"Throughout my term of office", it is written in the introduction to the report, "I emphasized the importance of the activity of the Office of the Ombudsman in the protection of human rights, and especially in the protection of the rights of vulnerable communities, the fundamental duty of the Office being to act as a mouthpiece for them in their dealings with government authorities".
To this end, the Office of the Ombudsman (the Office) acts in various ways designed to increase awareness of its existence and of the options open to the individual to receive assistance from it, free of charge - emphasis being placed on the geographical and social periphery.
Ways of filing a complaint:
A complaint may be filed with the Office in several ways:
By an online form - on the website of the Office
By email - email@example.com
By regular mail - 2 Mevaker Hamedina (next to the cinema city), POB 1081, Jerusalem 910100.
By fax -
In person - at the reception offices distributed throughout the country - Jerusalem; Tel Aviv-Jaffa; Haifa; Be'er Sheva; Lod; Nazareth; Kiryat Shmona - there are staff members who speak Arabic, Russian and Amharic who are able to help complainants in their mother tongue.
By posting a letter in a designated postbox in the
In 2018 the Office received in total 14,461 complaints - of which 13,617 related to audited bodies and a further 844 concerned bodies against which the Office is not authorized to investigate complaints.
In recent years the upward trend in the number of complaints filed with the Ombudsman continues - some 7% annually.
The bodies concerning which the highest number of complaints was received in 2018 were:
National Insurance Institute: 1,100
Israel Postal Company Ltd.: 864
Ministry of Transport and Road Safety: 826
Israel Police: 701
Ministry of Population and Immigration: 546
Ministry of Health: 503
Ministry of Justice: 499
Ministry of Education: 378
Israel Tax Authority: 355
Ministry of Construction and Housing: 351
In 43% of the complaints, the Office concluded the investigation to the satisfaction of the complainant - either because the complaint was found justified or because the matter of the complaint was rectified. In 35.2% of the complaints in which the investigation was completed, the complaint was found justified. This percentage is higher than is acceptable in properly administered countries.
It should be pointed out that in the last three years, there has been an increase in the percentage of justified complaints.
Percentage of justified complaints in the years 2016 - 2018:
2016 - 29.1%
2017 - 32.2%
2018 - 35.24%
The bodies concerning which the percentage of justified complaints* was higher than the overall percentage of justified complaints (35.24%):
Israel Postal Company Ltd. - 72.7% justified complaints
Ministry of Health - 61.1% justified complaints
Ministry of Transport and Road Safety - 49.7% justified complaints
Ministry of Labour, Social affairs and Social Services- 45.3% justified complaints
Israel Tax Authority - 41.2% justified complaints
Ministry of Education - 40.1% justified complaints
*Bodies concerning which in at least 80 of the complaints that were filed and investigated, a decision was reached.
This year, too, complaints of sick persons requiring medical cannabis are described in the report. Since the number of complaints received in 2018 about the Medical Cannabis Unit in the Ministry of Health is almost two and half times greater than the number of complaints received about it in 2017, and since 85% of the complaints about the Unit in 2018 were found justified or were rectified due to the intervention of the Office - the chapter dealing with the field of health contains a detailed description of the complainants about the Unit.
This year, the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety stands out as the body about which the highest number of complaints on the subject of service to the public was received. The number of complaints about the Licensing Authority in which the investigation was completed increased by 75% compared to the previous year.
As said, the duties of the Office include the protection of human rights in general, and the protection of the rights of vulnerable communities in society in particular. The report details many cases in which the Office helped to protect the basic rights of the complainants, including the right to dignity and liberty, the right to equality and the right to privacy.
This year the report gave prominence to complaints concerning defined communities, and within this framework the complaints were concentrated into four different and varied fields:
• Complaints relating to people with disabilities
• Complaints relating to old-age citizens - the data disclose that citizens over the age of 65 are aware of their rights and the percentage of their complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman is almost double their percentage of the population.
• Complaints relating to women - the report contains many complaints about pregnancy and birth (funding of tests, eligibility for pregnancy bed rest benefit and maternity leave), as well as complaints concerning inflexibility in the handling of applications for discounts in childcare fees for working mothers.
On the subject of accommodation, benefits, health, education and welfare, the percentage of complaints of women was higher than the percentage of complaints of men. With regards to the other complaint subject-matters, the percentage of complaints of women (39%) was smaller than the percentage of complaints of men (60%).
• Complaints relating to children
Protection of whistleblowers
The State Comptroller and Ombudsman places great importance on the fight against public corruption and on integrity. The State Comptroller Law granted him special, quasi-judicial authority to protect whistleblowers in public service.
In 2018, 44 complaints were filed by employees who claimed that their superiors had violated their rights as a result of their exposing acts of corruption. Some 50% of the employees, the investigation of whose complaint was completed, received remedies from the Ombudsman.
In addition, various actions are taken to alleviate the difficulties encountered by the complainants and their families following the exposure of the corruption and the filing of a complaint with the Office, including the support of a social worker who was recruited for this purpose.
The investigation of an individual complaint frequently raises a general defect. In these cases, the Office of the Ombudsman does not suffice with providing a remedy to the complainant, but also points out the need to rectify the defect in order to prevent harm to others. For example, following the complaint of a mentally disabled person who on public transport received a fare receipt specifying that he was "a disabled person", the Office instructed the Ministry of Transport to minimize the violation of privacy of the passengers and the Ministry of Transport ordered the public transport operators to act accordingly.
Key Points of Annual Report 45 for the year 2018