Parties Criticized for Racking Up Big Debts

YERUSHALAYIM -

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira says that the big debts racked up by Israel’s political parties could wreck their fiscal integrity and undermine the stability of the country’s electoral system, Globes reported on Wednesday.

Most of the factions in the 19th Knesset have incurred heavy deficits, Shapira noted in a report on the preparations and management of elections.

At the end of 2013, the Labor Party led the pack, in arrears by almost NIS 29.5 million, followed by the Likud, with a deficit of NIS 23.8 million, Kadima owing 16.4 million, Meretz, NIS 5.4 million, Movement, NIS 5.3 million, Shas, 2.8 million, Balad, NIS 2.6 million, United Torah Judaism, 2.5 million, and Raam with NIS 837,100.

Three Knesset factions had a surplus at the end of 2013: Taal, with NIS 478.8 million; Hadash with NIS 1.8 million; and Yisrael Beitenu, with NIS 4.7 million.

The report does not discuss Yesh Atid and Jewish Home, which were given permission to file their accounts late.

Not content with mere criticism, Shapira levied a fine on Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home of NIS 380,000 for incomplete reporting on NIS 9.6 million in expenses. The party claimed the money was for campaign costs, but failed to provide documentation.

Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni’s Movement party was fined NIS 140,000 for exceeding the legal limit of election expenses.