Arab MK's illegal office closed

MK forced to close office operated out of building declared illegal in 2012.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The building where the office was
The building where the office was

The office of MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) in the city of Umm al-Fahm was closed following reports by the Regavim movement that the was operating in an illegal building.

According to the Knesset regulations, MKs are entitled to the Knesset funding for them to have an office that will serve them during the working days outside the Knesset for the sake of contact with voters.

This funding, which totals tens of thousands of shekels a year, was used by 30 MKs from across the political spectrum in 2016. Regulations stipulate that MKs who receive the funding must provide proof that they possess a permit to have their office in its current location.

However, the Regavim movement discovered that MK Jabareen's office was located in a building declared illegal by the Supreme Court in 2012.

Over the last year, Regavim has petitioned the Knesset Speaker and the Knesset legal adviser to cease all funding for the office in the illegal building and to ensure that MK Jabareen's office would be operated out of a legal location.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein turned the matter over to the Knesset Ethics Committee, which ruled that Jabareen must vacate his current office, but would not be required to reimburse the Knesset for the funds used to pay the rent for the illegal office.

Regavim submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court, which also ruled Thursday that Jabareen would not be required to pay back the funds used illegally.

"Funding an official office with Knesset money in an illegal building is an unreasonable act that encourages real corruption and construction crime, and this is an unacceptable reality," said attorney Boaz Arazi of the Regavim movement. "This is not just public money, but the money of the Knesset, which supports the owners of the building."

"It is inconceivable that the legislature will finance such a blatant violation of its own laws. We regret that the court did not see fit to charge the money that was given illegally, and we are surprised by MK Jabareen, who did not see fit to do so on his own initiative," Arazi added.