Israel State Comptroller warns of the State’s cooperation with the Elad Foundation
A new report was published yesterday by Israel’s State Comptroller Yosef Shapira. Here are a few of the highlights from the report, which we at Emek Shaveh have already been protesting for a number of years:
- Central archaeological sites in the City of David and Jerusalem national parks were given to Elad without a tender, including Warren’s Shaft – one of Jerusalem’s most important ancient sites.
- The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) and the Israel Lands Authority failed to oversee Elad’s activity in the City of David, both regarding revenues and operating expenses, and the organization’s overall management of the site.
- The Nature and Parks Authority did not offer tours of the sites for which it is responsible, leaving them entirely to Elad, in contravention of the Ir Amim high court ruling from 2012.
- The Israel Antiquities Authority did not properly oversee the Temple Mount Sifting project.
- The State authorities, each in its respective fields, have avoided overseeing and monitoring Elad’s work. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority have neglected to oversee the use of land and financial management of the sites under their control which are managed by Elad, while the Israel Antiquities Authority has failed to monitor the archaeological projects.
- The payments (“rental fees”) that Elad transfers to the State in exchange for management of archaeological sites are unrealistically low compared to their sweeping revenues.
- It appears that all the governmental entities involved in the sites operated by Elad are acting in the organization’s favor- not in the public’s favor. Moreover, there is a lack of transparency which makes it difficult to monitor and control Elad’s conduct and that of the government entities in relation to Elad.
In Conclusion: The State authorities gave over land, antiquities and educational responsibility to the Elad Foundation, while relinquishing their roles and responsibilities and acting against the public who they are supposed to serve.
We at Emek Shaveh believe that in light of the comptroller’s report and in order to correct these shortcomings, a serious investigative process is required to look into the actions of the INPA and the Israel Antiquities Authority. State officials who advanced unsound policies should be penalized and transferred from their positions. Of course, this poor conduct is primarily the responsibility of ministers who approved of and even work to advance it.