A lively public debate takes place in Israeli democracy every day in which individuals, groups and organizations participate. The Knesset is the heartbeat of democracy and it is where elected officials and their employees meet with ordinary citizens and representatives of companies and organizations.
Knesset members and public officials routinely make decisions of crucial importance to individuals, groups, organizations and companies in Israel. The legislative procedure and determination of policy are based on principles of professionalism, transparency, consultation, and public participation. In the framework of said principles, the public is given the right to express its opinion and influence the design of public policy, whilst Knesset members and public officials have the responsibility to decide in accordance with the public interest and act impartially.
Considering this, government relations are an inseparable part of the democratic process and public participation in decision-making. This is the case in the world’s leading democracies – and in Israel. The purpose of government relations is to ensure that the public policy takes into account as wide a range of considerations as possible and that everyone who may be affected by it has the opportunity to make their voice heard and be an active partner in its design.
The lobbyists bring to the attention of the decision makers a wide spectrum of facts, positions, opinions and interests from a variety of companies and organizations in the Israeli economy and society. The lobbying profession is therefore intended to help the public to maintain continuous communication with its elected officials, and to serve as a channel for transferring knowledge and expertise from the business sector and civil society to the Knesset members. This, in accordance with the provisions of the law and professional and ethical standards, which are based on the principles of fairness, transparency and openness.
To promote public trust in the profession and the democratic process in general, the Government Relations Forum initiated the code of ethics. The code is intended for lobbyists working on behalf of business entities, public organizations, non-profit associations and the like. The ethical code includes new procedures, which impose ethical duties on lobbyists who have previously served as MK’s or as public officials, and of course on lobbyists. The Government Relations Forum encourages all lobbyists in Israel to conduct themselves in accordance with the code and to act for its assimilation among their colleagues in order to ensure the highest level of ethics in the profession.
The code of ethics draws from the world’s leading codes: the International Code of the Association of Accredited Lobbyists in the European Union (International Code of Lobbying Ethics) and the American League of Lobbyists Code of Ethics. The code further derives from the recommendations of the committee for the drawing of rules of ethics for Knesset members headed by Judge Yitzhak Zamir (2006), from the code compiled by the Knesset subcommittee for the drawing of ethics regulations, headed by MK Haim Oron (2011), and from existing codes in the lobbying industry in Israel.
3.10 A lobbyist who is asked by different clients to represent them in a hearing before a MK or before a Knesset committee, regarding the same matter, will inform the clients and obtain their consent.
3.11 The employer will bring to the attention of all its employees the importance of avoiding a conflict of interest between the affairs of a client and the affairs of another client whom they represent in the same matter and will instruct its employees to act as set forth in Section 3.10.