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Citizens’ Wealth Fund: We withdraw our petition

After the January 2024 hearing in the High Court of Justice we withdraw our petition, but will work for clarification of the law.

On January 24, 2024 we withdrew our petition against the Knesset, the Government and the Minister of Finance after the Court advised us that the 2014 Israel Citizens Fund Law was unclear and in need of amendment.

The petition revolved entirely around the interpretation of Section 38 of the Israel Citizens’ Fund Law (2014), in regard to the annual allocation monies for “social, economic and educational purposes”. The Fund was set up as a legal entity to supervise and allocate a portion of the profits accrued from Israel’s offshore natural gas fields. Clause (d) of the Law states that the government’s proposal will be detailed and several things will be attached to it, including an “allocated amount” for the development of renewable energies and for increasing employment opportunities in the Negev.

We reminded the Court that according to the 2014 Law, it is mandatory that “allocated amounts” be dispersed every year. The State argued that the law allows broad discretion, and the Knesset’s Committee on the Israel Citizens’ Wealth Fund can decide on a ‘zero’ allocation, as it did in summer 2023.

After lengthy discussion, the judges noted that the language of the 2014 Law is poor and in need of clarification, and we withdrew the petition. However, as national environmental watchdog, we are not ready to leave the people of Israel without the promised benefits of the natural gas extraction.

“What was supposed to be, after 10 years, the means to boost renewable energies and expands jobs for people in the Negev, the ‘citizens’ fund’ allocation is denied,” comments Amit Bracha, CEO of Adam Teva V’Din. “We will work hard to get the 2014 Citizens’ Wealth Fund Law amended and clarified so that the next allocation will be made fairly for the benefit the public, as the Citizens’ Wealth Fund was intended.”

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No allocation of funds for the public’s benefit; 2014 Citizens’ Fund law must be clarified.

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