2008-09 Jeanne Sauvé Fellow Tomer Avital has never shied away from confrontation on behalf of what he believes is right. This time, his advocacy of transparency for all members of the Israeli Knesset has earned him some powerful opponents.
The Jerusalem Post of 13 October 2014 reports:
[Speaker of the Knesset Yuli] Edelstein: Journalist hiring private eyes to tail MKs belongs in jail
Journalist’s “100 Days of Transparency” project raised almost NIS 160,000 to follow lawmakers who “love darkness” and “resist transparency.”
Former Calcalist Knesset reporter Tomer Avital started raising money for his “100 Days of Transparency” project in July via the Israeli crowdfunding site Headstart, and as of Monday, has close to NIS 160,000 to hire private investigators to “make transparency-resisters [in the Knesset] sweat,” as the project’s page reads.
A video on the project’s site shows MKs hugging lobbyists and attending parties with some of the wealthiest Israelis and points out that many MKs only attend a handful of plenum meetings.
Avital, who also wrote a murder mystery describing an extreme case of what can happen when there is a lack of transparency in the Knesset, particularly in regards to lobbyists, plans to have investigators track the activities of lawmakers who “love darkness,” meaning those whose schedules and activities are least transparent.
“They should think twice before serving narrow interests. In general, we want elected officials to be subject to new, different public transparency standards. Specifically, we want to know who they’re meeting with and why they are ditching the plenum,” Avital wrote on the Headstart page.
Edelstein attacked the initiative on Monday, in an interview with Galey Israel Radio, saying “if someone involved ends up in court and in jail and in handcuffs, I won’t shed a tear.”
Tomer’s friend and fellow Sauvé alumnus (2009-10) Yaniv Rivlin approves, writing on Facebook:
“Tomer Avital, have no fear! We won’t let the speaker of the parliament throw you into jail…
Extremely courageous, innovative and important initiative by my dear friend and fellow Fondation Jeanne Sauvé Foundation Scholar. Over 1,600 Israeli citizens have already donated and many more volunteered to help! 100 days of transparency can and should be a model for other countries.”