Anti-Corruption Watchdog 'Fighting To Restore Idealism'
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG) held its annual conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday, handing out its Knights of Quality Government Awards for 2013 at the event.
Eliad Shraga, chair and founder of the organization, spoke to Arutz Sheva about MQG's 24 years of setting ethical norms and occasionally leading campaigns that result in putting leaders "behind bars," in his words.
Shraga's interview can be seen here:
MQG's chairman asserts that Israel was much a better place, in terms of corruption, in its first 30 years, when the nation was more "idealistic and naive." Shraga comments that his group aims to bring the country back to this more idealistic status, reversing the growing corruption and materialism of the past 30 to 35 years.
In doing so, Shraga stresses the importance on raising awareness among the public, along with issuing warnings to corrupt politicians.
While giving out awards at the event, Shraga said "we have been fighting corruption this year," mentioning the group's involvement in a recent Supreme Court decision against mayors who have been indicted of crimes.
The court decision led to a law being passed on December 11, a law that obligates the suspension of indicted mayors.
Shraga notes that the law did not prevent residents from voting for the same indicted mayors, commenting that this fact caused MQG to realize "the next battle is for public awareness. The public must understand that without shame, the fight against bribery will not succeed."
The awards handed out at the event were given to politicians who in Shraga's words "fearlessly served the public, guarded their steps and served as a compass and conscience to an entire society, proving that things can be different."
One of the winners of the award, MK Yitzchak Cohen (Shas), was congratulated Sunday evening by Shas chairman MK Aryeh Deri. In early 2013, Deri returned to take control of Shas following 13 years of political exile over corruption charges that had him serving jail time.
MQG's website states the group's mission is to promote good government for the people of Israel, adding that it is the nation's preeminent citizen watchdog organization. MQG describes itself as independent, apolitical and not-for-profit, with 13,000 members and supporters.