For three months, student Orianne Weizmann tried to obtain statistics regarding household expenditure at the Prime Minister's official residence in Jerusalem. It wasn't until she petitioned the local courts - with the help of NIF grantee The Movement for Freedom of Information - that she was successful. Her findings made front page headlines throughout the country.
"It's sad that we’ve reached the stage where we have to fight for the right to information," she reflects.
Weizmann, 28, is a second year law student at Ashdod College. The information revealed that expenditures in the Prime Minister’s residence nearly doubled between 2009, when he took office, and 2012. Among the expenses revealed was that the prime minister spent $127,000 to install a sleep chamber for his use on a five-hour flight to London.
"It's important for us all the time to ask, 'What don't I know and why don't I know it?' Many of us think that if we don't know something until now then there's probably a good reason and we don't need to know. Some have an even worse view: 'Who am I anyway to demand this information?' ...My goal from the start was transparency, transparency, and transparency."
The Movement for Freedom of Information attempts to create an environment in which the right to seek and receive information becomes an integral aspect of civil society. It works to implement the Freedom of Information Law by submitting Freedom of Information requests to public bodies. News of the massive expenditures at the Prime Minister's residence has produced a huge public outcry, showing just how important these efforts can be.