Justice Minister Tzipi Livni
Justice Minister Tzipi LivniFlash 90

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's request to have the World Zionist Organization's (WZO) Settlement Division listed as a public authority, subjecting it to freedom of information laws, was rejected by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Wednesday.

The WZO division has, in recent years, functioned as an operational arm of the government, in terms of building and establishing communities and infrastructures in Judea and Samaria.

MK Zehava Galon (Meretz), Chairperson of the far-left Meretz party, claimed in recent weeks that the division had become responsible for a "non-transparent" transferring of funds to Judea and Samaria. The division's budget is not approved as part of the national budget, but rather is part of general transfers of funds in the framework of the Finance Committee.

"I turned to minister Livni and told her that it's unreasonable that the Division doesn't fall under freedom of information," stated Galon. "The Division is an arm behind construction in the settlements, it's one of several bodies that the freedom of information law doesn't apply to."

Livni quickly got on board with Galon's initiative, submitting a request to members of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee that they approve her signing in a clause reading "I hereby determine that the WZO's settlement division is a public authority as far as legal matters are concerned."

The Committee chairman raised the request for a vote. By a majority of two MKs, namely David Rotem (Likud Beytenu) and Shul Muallem-Rafaeli (Jewish Home), the Committee rejected Livni's request. 

Not taking no for an answer, Galon submitted a request for a repeat vote re-evaluation, which the Committee will discuss at a later date.

In early February, Finance Minister Yair Lapid cut off all funding to Judea and Samaria, after a far-left journalist made claims that government money was transferred "illegally" to the region's Yesha Council for "political needs."