Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to a variety of questions frequently asked by persons wishing to file a complaint with the Ombudsman

The list of questions:

Who may file a complaint?

Can a complaint be filed on behalf of someone else?

What may be the subject of a complaint?

Against which bodies may a complaint be filed?

How is a complaint filed?

Can a complaint be filed verbally or over the telephone?

Can a complaint be filed anonymously?

Which complaints will not be investigate?

How long does it take for the Ombudsman to acknowledge enquiries?

How long does it take to investigate a complaint?

Does the complainant have the right to appeal the Ombudsman's decision?

Are the bodies against whom the complaint was filed obliged to comply with the Ombudsman's decisions?

 

 

Any person, including a child and a person who is not a citizen of Israel, who has been directly harmed by the act or omission of an authority may file a complaint with the Ombudsman, either in person or through his lawyer (together with a power of attorney). The complainant must specify his or her name and address; the Ombudsman will not investigate an anonymous complaint.

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A person who was not directly harmed by the act or omission of an authority may file a complaint on behalf of a person who was directly harmed by it, provided the Ombudsman is satisfied that the latter has given his consent.

  

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As a rule, the Ombudsman will investigate a complaint about an act – including an omission or delay in taking action – which has directly harmed the complainant or directly prevented him from receiving a benefit, and which was carried out unlawfully or without lawful authority, or contrary to proper administration, or constitutes excessive inflexibility or flagrant injustice.

While the filing of a complaint in no way diminishes the complaint's right to obtain other relief from an administrative or judicial authority, the following should be taken into account:

  • In general, the filing of a complaint will neither guarantee a stay or suspension of the administrative proceedings on which it is predicated (for example, tender or Execution Office proceedings), nor defer the discharge of a legal obligation (for example, payment of a fine).

  • The Ombudsman will not investigate a complaint relating to a matter pending in a court or tribunal (whether the judicial proceedings were initiated by the complainant or taken against him) and will terminate the investigation should such proceedings be initiated after it has begun.

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According to the State Comptroller Law, 5718-1958 [Consolidated Version], a complaint may be filed against government ministries, local authorities and other municipal bodies (such as city unions and water and sewage corporations), statutory authorities (such as the National Insurance Institute and the Israel Land Authority), state-owned enterprises or institutions, government companies and other public bodies.  A complaint may likewise be filed against employees and office-holders in the aforementioned bodies.  Generally speaking, a complaint may be filed against any entity which is subject to state audit, although each complaint will be examined in its own right.

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A complaint may be filed in one of the following ways:

  1. By post to the following address: POB 1081, 2 Mevaker Hamedina Street, Jerusalem 9101001

  2. By fax. to 02-6665204

  3. By filling out a complaint form online on the Ombudsman's website

  4. By visiting one of the regional reception offices located in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Nazareth, Beer Sheba and Lod.   

     Addresses, telephone numbers and opening hours of the regional offices and reception desk.

Filing a complaint is free of charge.

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A complaint may be filed verbally, but only at one of the Ombudsman's regional reception offices listed above.  A complaint may not be submitted over the phone.

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No, a complaint may not be filed anonymously. The complainant is required by law to state his name and address; anonymous complaints are transferred to the relevant audit departments in the Office of the State Comptroller.

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Complaints against private bodies, private lawyers or private individuals;

A complaint against the President of the State;

A complaint against the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and its committees;

A complaint against a Member of Knesset about an action taken in the discharge of his duties;

A complaint against the government or one if its ministers (other than relating to action taken by him in his capacity as head of his ministry);

A complaint against the Governor of the Bank of Israel;

A complaint against judicial or quasi-judicial acts;

A complaint relating to a matter which is pending in a court or tribunal or in which a court or tribunal has made a decision;

A complaint by a soldier, policeman or prison warden regarding the terms and conditions of his service or regarding an internal disciplinary action that has been taken against him;

A complaint by an employee against an audited body relating to his service as an employee, unless the complaint concerns an act which contravenes the provisions of relevant employment legislation, the Civil Service Regulations, a collective agreement, a general arrangement determined by the Civil Service Commissioner, any similar general arrangement, or the violation of an employee's rights following his exposing acts of corruption in his workplace;

A complaint relating to a decision against which a contestation, objection or appeal can or could have been filed, unless there is special justification for investigating it;

A complaint filed after a year has elapsed from the date of the act to which it relates or became known to the complainant, unless there is special justification for investigating it;

A complaint which has already been filed directly with the audited body (with a copy only sent to the Ombudsman); in this case it is assumed that the complaint will be investigated by the audited body to which it was referred;

A complaint considered by the Ombudsman to be frivolous and vexatious;

A complaint which in the Ombudsman's opinion, his office  is not the appropriate body for investigating it

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The Office of the Ombudsman endeavours to reply to enquiries as soon as possible; confirmation that a complaint has been received will generally be sent within two weeks of receipt of the complaint.

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The duration of the investigation varies from one complaint to another and is dependent on the circumstances and complexity of the matter involved.  The investigation of a simple complaint will usually take two to three months; the investigation of a complex complaint requiring, among other things, the preparation of legal opinions, may take  longer.

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While under the State Comptroller Law there is no right of appeal against the Ombudsman's decisions, a complainant wishing to appeal the decision made in his case may file an objection with the Ombudsman and his contentions will be examined.

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In general, the Ombudsman's decisions do not have the force of a binding order (apart from those made under Section 45C of the State Comptroller Law, which are designed to protect employees who have exposed acts of corruption [whistleblowers] and internal auditors who have been victimized in reaction to their activities as internal auditors); in these cases, the audited bodies are obligated to carry out the Ombudsman's decisions under the laws of public administration.  Nevertheless, in most cases the bodies complained against honour the Ombudsman's decisions and act in accordance with them.

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