On 24 June 2019, the Ombudsman of Israel, Judge (ret.) Joseph Haim Shapira, laid on the table of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) Annual Report 45 of the Office of the Ombudsman for the year 2018. This is the seventh and last annual report to be presented in the term of office of Judge (ret.) Joseph Haim Shapira as the State Comptroller and Ombudsman of Israel.
As in previous years, Annual Report 45 reflects the approach that the Ombudsman's primary task is to protect the rights of all sectors of society, especially those of vulnerable communities. This year, prominence was given to complaints concerning defined communities and in this framework, the complaints were concentrated into four different and varied fields - complaints relating to disabled persons; complaints relating to old-age citizens; complaints relating to women; complaints relating to children. In addition, the report presents an analysis of the complaints according to the characteristics of the complainants, enabling the Office of the Ombudsman to locate the sectors of the population that are not sufficiently aware of the activity of the Office.
Number of complaints
The bodies against which the largest number of complaints was filed in 2018 were the National Insurance Institute (1,101 complaints), the Israel Postal Company Ltd. (864 complaints) and the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety (826 complaints). Of the total number of complaints in which the investigation was completed in 2018, the overall percentage of justified complaints was 35.24%.
36% of the complaints received in 2018 concerned defects in the service provided to the public by the different bodies. The remaining complaints related to subjects covering a wide range of public activity in Israel, such as welfare, health, housing and accommodation, collection and execution procedures, education and benefits.
In order to enhance work efficacy and achieve optimal results, the Ombudsman adapts the investigation procedure to the particular complainant and the type of complaint. The use of mediation is an example of this and in 2018, staff members of the Office of the Ombudsman, who have received training as mediators, conducted over 100 mediation processes, a large number of which were completed to the satisfaction of the parties.
Protection of whistle blowers
In 2018, 44 complaints were filed by public employees who claimed that their superiors had violated their rights as a result of their "blowing the whistle". 22 of the employees received different remedies from the Ombudsman. In addition to the remedies granted by the Ombudsman to whistleblowers whose complaints have been found justified, the Ombudsman takes different actions to alleviate the many difficulties encountered by the complainants and their families following the exposure of the corruption and the filing of the complaint with the Office. In 2018, a social worker was recruited to give support to the complainants and their families.
To mark the presentation of the Annual Report, a special conference was held at the Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman in Jerusalem, for all its staff members. At the conference, titled "Milestones", the work of the different departments of the Office of the Ombudsman was presented and a panel was conducted on the subject: "Ageism and the Aging Population of Israel". The participants of the panel were Dr. Esther Ben-Haim, Director of the Office of the Ombudsman; Ms. Liora Shimoni, Head of Social Welfare Division, Office of the State Comptroller; Ms. Colette Avital, Chairperson of the Center Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel; Prof. Issi Doron, Haifa University; Dr. Aharon Cohen, former Head of the Geriatrics Department, Ministry of Health.
A link to the Key Points of Annual Report 45 for the year 2018 can be found here.
Source: State Comptroller's Office, Israel