Supervisor Of The Capital Market Division, Dorit Salinger, Decides Not To Show Up For Parliamentary Committee Of Inquiry Hearing
The Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the Financial System`s Conduct in Credit Agreements with Large Business Borrowers, headed by MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union), convened yesterday (Tuesday) for a meeting, which was supposed to examine the conduct of the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Division in credit agreements with large business borrowers. The Committee prepared for the meeting in the format of a hearing, similar to hearings held in the American Senate, and the Supervisor of the Capital Market Division, Dorit Salinger, refused to show up due to the seating arrangements. Committee Chairman MK Cabel voiced very harsh criticism and said “if Salinger thinks that she can [act as though] – using the colloquial expression – ‘she doesn’t give a hoot’ – then she is mistaken.”
The Committee headed by MK Cabel, prepared for the meeting in the format of a hearing. MKs Yoav Kisch (Likud), Roy Folkman (Kulanu), Dov Khenin (Joint List), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), Esawi Frej (Meretz) and Ayelet Nahmias Verbin (Zionist Union) attended the meeting, however at the last minute Salinger notified [the Committee] that she would not show up for the meeting. Committee Chairman MK Cabel opened the meeting with harsh words and said: “I am truly excited to open the Committee of Inquiry meetings and I say, in spite of everything, ‘[I thank the One] who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion’. Dorit Salinger, Supervisor of the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Division, was invited here today.
[Salinger] is the first one who was supposed to start the inquiry meetings. Unfortunately, she notified us now that she does not intend to attend the meeting, as she is not prepared to sit across from us here at the table, and this is not a matter of semantics. We are defining here today, and I say this with goosebumps, the relationship between the supervisory and legislative authority, on the one hand, and the executive authority, on the other. We have known for a long time that there are many individuals in the executive authority who have become confused. They are the ones who determine the manner of conduct for the supervisory authority. This will not happen. This is a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry, which the Knesset formed unanimously. This is painstaking work and I will address the issue of how the elements do all in their power to prevent us from faithfully performing our duties.
I thank the members of Knesset for all the support that you give us. The Knesset’s dignity is at stake here. In any case, everyone allows him or herself to hurl stones at this building. There are people here from all factions of the Knesset who perform their duty faithfully. If Salinger thinks that she can [act as though] – using the colloquial expression – ‘she doesn’t give a hoot’ – then she is mistaken.”
Subsequently, Committee Chairman Cabel read the speech with which he meant to open the festive meeting, and said that the delays in opening the inquiry meetings stemmed from the fact that the transfer of information from the interrogees was lacking. He added, “Make no mistake, we will leave no stone unturned, with all due respect to secrecy, it will not be a tool for preventing the search for truth. We shall not hesitate to proceed to a legislative process and a meeting has already been scheduled with the Minister of Justice in this matter. For all those praying for elections, assuming that the Knesset will convene when it returns from the recess and will decide on its dissolution, during the first month we will convene marathon meetings every Sunday, in the morning and afternoon, and on Thursday mornings.”
MK Kisch said that what we saw this morning is a symptom, while every step of the way there are elements who are fighting against what the public sent members of Knesset to do – and that is supervision. “There is a fear of the work that is being done here at the Knesset and we must not be indecisive or give up, but rather, we must fight back. Salinger will not determine the seating arrangement in the Knesset. It is not her job and we will not allow this,” he said. Kisch added that if the Minister of Justice will insist not to grant authority to the Committee of Inquiry he will recommend that Committee Chairman Cabel “hand over the keys. We will not be a rubber stamp committee.”
MK Esawi Frej said that he is concerned as to the status of members of Knesset and disappointed by the move that Salinger has made. MK Frej maintained that “she has many accomplishments and to take all those achievements which were earned with great toil, and conclude with undignified conduct is a shame. I fear that her non-appearance at the last minute, while still in the building, was coordinated with the rest of the entities who are supposed to be here. We are not going to interrogate anyone, but we want to know the truth, what is with [our] pensions – whether they are in good hands. I call upon Salinger to go back on her conduct.”
MK Robert Ilatov called this move a disgrace to the Knesset, the public and the government. “We came and prepared ourselves and there is a senior official here, a regulator who is in charge of the supervisory and control system who is simply circumventing our criticism as a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry with her actions and is proactively preventing us from seeking the truth in a manner that is a humiliation to the Knesset. This is a particularly grave incident. I call upon her to hand over the keys and go home. She has failed and is trying to trip up the Knesset from arriving at the truth,” Ilatov said. MK Ayelet Nahmias Verbin recalled that she requested to form a Committee of Inquiry a year and a half ago, following the collapse of Eliezer Fishman, and the Banking Supervision Department decided that it is running the Knesset and after the sub-committee, which she chairs, was established, they decided that they would not allow it to be established. Nahmias asserted that “this morning’s incident emits the same stench. This conduct is rude and unworthy and I am concerned about what Salinger sees as her future, and this is the revolving doors. It is true that she aggravated numerous elements in the capital market, but with all due respect, she cannot decide for us what the Committee’s work arrangements will be.”
MK Roy Folkman said that he is not intending to ‘crucify’ any incumbents or individuals, but rather, to improve the Israeli public’s future. “If a regulator does not arrive, what will the private market say,” asked MK Folkman and added “Meticulous work was done here, they argued that we wouldn’t be capable of coping with this and we are proving that the Knesset is capable.” MK Dov Khenin said that the meeting of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee is not just another regular Knesset meeting.
Committee Chairman MK Cabel summed up the brief meeting and said that very comprehensive research work has been done, which hasn’t been done for years on this scale. He added, “I am among those who stood publicly, openly, to defend Salinger against the attacks from extra-parliamentary elements. However, there are numerous and huge questions, mainly regarding supervision, type of conduct and other such questions, and therefore, it was important to hear her. Nobody will determine how we conduct ourselves. We have begun a process with the hearing on the issue of gas, which was the beginning of a process that was conducted just as in other parliaments [around] the world.”
MK Cabel announced that he intends to call upon the Committee members and prepare a proposal to establish a National Committee of Inquiry, which will have an absolute majority in the Knesset. “So they will sit wherever they want and will bring all the documents that people ask for, as is, and without any questions asked. If they want it they will get it,” Cabel said. MK Kisch added “they are leading us there, so they shouldn’t complain.” Committee Chairman Cabel even announced that he would meet with the Minister of Justice and also with the Minister of Finance on this subject. “Whoever thinks that he is weakening our position is wrong. “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread”, Cabel summed up.
Subsequently, Committee Chairman Cabel convened the Committee members for an internal meeting, and said that Salinger didn’t show up for the meeting because she was alarmed and frightened that she wouldn’t be able to contend with the professional questions that would be directed at her. He said that she thought that she would be coming to an “embracing” committee and not a committee that intends to search for the truth. The members of Knesset are examining how Salinger’s absence is being handled so that such cases will not repeat themselves.