The fact that Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad was called up to import 100,000 coronavirus test kits had many Israelis scratching their heads.
After all, why is Jerusalem’s international intelligence bureau wasting their effort in importing medical devices?
The answer can be traced to one company who enjoys an almost total monopoly on supplying Israel’s Health Ministry with medical equipment. That company is Sar-El.
Usually, when government bodies like the Health Ministry outsource to private companies, an auction takes place. The ministry receives an annual budget. And that ministry, in turn, can decide which companies offer the best products at the best prices.
However since 1995. Sar-El has enjoyed an unprecedented exemption from the auction with a virtual monopoly on all medical supplies purchased by Israel’s health ministry. That’s how Sar-El, an unknown company, now operates as a multi-billion shekel corporation boasting a 5-year budget of a 5,3 Billion Shekel ($1.4 Billion) .
And although the Health Ministry’s CFO requested to open bids to other competitors, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman as well as the ministry’s chairman Shai Siman-Tov have refused to acquiesce.
“Think about how much money (the Health Ministry) could have saved with a bit of healthy and balanced competition!” quipped social activist Neria Saada who initially uncovered the scandal. “Who is making money here? Is there money under the table?” he asked rhetorically.
Something else that Saada noticed was when Yair Lapid, PM Netanyahu’s political rival, campaigned against the Prime Minister’s alleged failures in Israel’s healthcare system, he never once mentioned the questionable relationship between the Health Ministry and Sar-El.
Many people around the world praised Israel for their early, aggressive response to the coronavirus pandemic. And although there is credit due, Breaking Israel News discovered that the aggressive measures was more of an acknowledgement by the Health Ministry that Israel is unprepared for a nationwide pandemic than anything else.
Hopefully this level of corruption won’t result in any avoidable loss of life. And hopefully, the Mossad can finally go back to taking out bad guys.