The relationship with the Knesset

The relationship between the State Comptroller and Ombudsman and the Knesset

Section 6 of the Basic Law: The State Comptroller provides that in carrying out his functions the State Comptroller shall only be accountable to the Knesset, and emphasizes his autonomy and independence from the Government. Similarly, section 12(A) of the Basic Law provides that "the State Comptroller shall maintain contact with the Knesset, as determined by law". The State Comptroller submits reports to the Knesset containing information and recommendations which are used by it as a means of supervising the Executive, and thus he assists the Knesset in a professional and independent way to carry out its duties, which is one of the supporting pillars of the separation of powers in a democratic state: supervision by the legislature of the Executive. 

The Comptroller's accountability to the Knesset manifests itself in several ways: First and foremost the State Comptroller is appointed by the Knesset for a seven year term and the Knesset may dismiss him from office with a majority of at least three-quarters of its members. The State Comptroller's reports and the Ombudsman's annual report are submitted to the Knesset; the Comptroller is in continual contact with the Knesset State Audit Committee. He submits a report to it on his activities whenever he deems it appropriate or the Committee asks him to do so. The annual budget for the State Audit in Israel is determined by the Knesset Finance Committee in accordance with the Comptroller's proposal, and at the end of the financial year the Comptroller submits a financial report relating to the affairs of his office for the approval of the State Audit Committee.

The State Audit Committee reviews the State Comptroller and Ombudsman's reports and based, inter alia, on the State Comptroller's recommendations, determines which issues raised therein it wishes to discuss. The Committee's meetings take place twice a week, except when the Knesset is in recess, and are always attended by the Comptroller or those of his representatives who are engaged in the matter being discussed, as well as representatives of the audited body and other organizations. During the meeting representatives of the audited body are asked to explain how they intend to correct the shortcomings that were raised by the audit or to redress the grievances set out in the Ombudsman's report, as well as to submit further information, in particular concerning the timetable for correcting the shortcomings raised by the audit. This is followed by a question and answer session during which members of the Committee are able to put their questions and observations to the audited body's representatives. Following these discussions the Chairman of the Committee, in coordination with the State Comptroller's Office, prepares the "Conclusions and Recommendations of the State Audit Committee", which are then presented to the Knesset plenum for approval. Once approved by the Knesset plenum, the conclusions and recommendations have the status of a Knesset resolution.