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Israel: Financial Disclosure Requirements Imposed on Senior Public Officials

(Dec. 6, 2016) On November 7, 2016, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed the Public Service (Assets Declaration) Law, 5777-2016 (SEFER HAHUKIM [BOOK OF LAWS, the official gazette, SH] 5756 No.2584, p. 4, Knesset website (last visited Nov. 30, 2016) (in Hebrew)).  The Law imposes a duty on any person defined as a holder of a senior position (HSP) to submit an affidavit regarding all of his or her assets and debts (Assets Declaration).  HSPs are listed in Addendum 1 of the Law and include specific, high-ranking police and prison authority officials; military officers; and senior local authority officials and local authority department heads in charge of tax collection, business licensing, and overseeing construction.  (Id. Addendum 1.)

The Assets Declaration must disclose all assets owned and debt owed by the HSP, his/her cohabiting spouse, or any dependent children. It must be submitted to the appropriate supervisor of the HSP, identified in the Law’s Addendum 2.  (Id. §§ 1-2.)  An Assets Declaration must be submitted within 90 days after the person assumes a senior position; every six years thereafter, unless there have been any changes in its content before the passage of the six-year period; and within 90 days following the end of employment, unless the person is transferred into another position that requires submission of an Assets Declaration.  (Id. § 3.)

Assets Declarations must be maintained in a special register and kept confidential by the HSP’s supervisor, who, in addition to other responsibilities, must conduct sample surveys to ensure that the statements are complete and that they comply with the requirements of the Law. (Id. § 5.)  Although information provided in Assets Declarations is confidential, a court may order its disclosure in connection with suspected criminal activity, having taken into consideration the potential harm to privacy that may result from such disclosure.  (Id. § 7.)

Any specified HSP, including a civil servant, who fails to provide an Assets Declaration has committed a disciplinary violation and is subject to the appropriate disciplinary law applicable to the offender, in accordance with his/her office affiliation.  (Id. § 8.)