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Israel: Parliament Establishes New Department for Government Oversight

(Sept. 19, 2017) A special parliamentary unit for oversight of governmental actions was recently established in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament). The Knesset Unit for Parliamentary Oversight (KATEF, based on the Hebrew acronym, which also means “shoulder(s)” in Hebrew).  (Press Release, The Knesset Establishes a Unit for Coordination and Oversight of the Government (Sept. 30, 2017), Knesset website  (in Hebrew).)

KATEF will operate in coordination with the Knesset’s committees, legal department, and Information and Research Center (KIRC) and with government offices. KATEF’s work will be guided equally by the coalition majority and the opposition. Former KIRC head Dr. Shirely Avrami will head KATEF, which will operate directly under the Knesset Director General.  (Id.)

KATEF’s establishment follows several hearings by a Knesset House Committee on examining ways to strengthen the Knesset’s oversight of the government. Among concerns raised at a May 24, 2017, hearing were the non-compliance of government officials with requests to appear before Knesset committees and the exorbitant number of private member bills filed.  (Reformation of the Relations Between the Government and the Knesset, House Committee website (May 24, 2017) (in Hebrew).)

Among other possible actions, KATEF is expected to address concerns about the government’s sometime lack of issuance of implementing regulations for Knesset legislation, resulting, in the view of the Knesset House Speaker, in weakening the status of the Knesset. (Gideon Alon, Knesset: The Responsibility Is on the Shoulders, YISRAEL HAYOM (July 23, 2017) (in Hebrew).)