Leading Israeli Public Corporations Under Fire

State Comptroller Ernst Nebenzahl, watchdog over government-owned industries and institutions, fired a blast against some leading public corporations in a highly critical report. Two of his targets were in the field of aviation.

According to Nebenzahl, El Al’s rehabilitation program, undertaken two years ago, is still in its infancy. He accused the national air line of perpetuating a number of abuses, such as free tickets for company employes.

The Comptroller questioned the feasibility of two major projects of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), the Westwind executive jet and the Arava short-take off-and-landing (STOL) plane. He also charged that IAI spent money on the development of a new jet fighter before the Defense Ministry had stated its requirements.

He accused the Haifa Oil Refineries of overcharging the State Fuel Administration and said it demonstrated incompetence by investing more than a billion Shekels in a new ethyl plant which was of defective design and is now unprofitable.

CHARGES FINANCIAL MANIPULATION

Nebenzahl said that the one government enterprise showing a profit was the Dead Sea potash works. But most of its profits came from financial manipulations, not the sale of chemicals, he said. He also lashed out at the Mifal Hapayis, the national lottery which donates its profits to educational, medical and social projects. He said it gave tens of millions of Shekels to yeshivot without bothering to find out how many students they had.

The national lottery also spent a half million dollars on new equipment which is used less than two days a week. Observers here noted that Nebenzahl’s report contained charges which he has made many times in the past.

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