Comptrollers annual report slams Netanyahu government

In her annual report on the activities of the government and government-run agencies, Ben-Porat attributed what she called the preferential treatment given to yeshivas to political pressure on the government and the agreements Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed with the fervently religious, or haredi, parties when he formed his government in 1996.

Ben-Porat charged that billions of dollars had been wasted — money that could have been used to improve education and transportation and create jobs.

She also cited instances in which some yeshivas submitted lists of fictitious students in order to receive more funding from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

In her 10th and final report before her expected retirement later this year, Ben-Porat also pointed to widening social gaps and alleged corruption.

Justice Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who heads a ministerial committee overseeing the State Comptroller's Office, said all of the issues raised in the 1,300-page report would be examined, including Ben-Porat's criticisms of a number of political appointments.

"This includes ensuring that every appointment by a minister or the government will only be based on professional criteria," Hanegbi told Israel Radio.

Regarding terrorist activities, the report noted that after a series of suicide bombings in 1995 and 1996, the IDF, the Prime Minister's Office and the Finance Ministry had come up with plans to increase security — none of which had been implemented.

The report further said the country's security measures had failed to prevent the infiltration of criminal elements from the self-rule areas, and had also failed to block the illegal entry of Palestinian laborers.