Publish National Insurance Institute Regulations Regarding “Center of Life” Investigations
The right to National Insurance Institute pension payments is granted to those who meet the National Insurance Law’s definition of "resident.” Among the conditions for meeting the definition of a "resident" is a “Center of Life” test, which implies that an individual has an ongoing and substantive connection to the state in all aspects of life. The law grants the National Insurance Institute the authority to conduct Center of Life investigations regarding policyholders’ pension eligibility, through private investigators.
The investigators were granted unprecedented authority regarding the extent to which they are permitted to violate the right to privacy. The exercise of such powers is evident, among other things, when private investigators arrive at people’s homes unexpectedly; surveil them near their place of work and residence, or near their children's school; arrive at relatives’ or neighbors' homes; question them on their lifestyle; demand the presentation of medical and financial documents, etc.
On February 6, 2023, we filed a freedom of information petition against the National Insurance Institute demanding that they publish all Center of Life investigation regulations in their entirety. We sought to understand the grounds for opening such investigations, the decision-making process for revocation of residency, and conduct in relation to the individual under investigation, such as submitting rationale for a decision and granting the right to a hearing.
In the appeal we noted that according to the Freedom of Information Law, it is the duty of a public authority to disclose the entirety of up-to-date regulations per which it operates. Publication of regulations is particularly important in cases where they address matters related to civil rights, or violate rights. We claimed that the obligation to publish regulations is of utmost importance regarding Center of Life investigations, as they directly impact the individual rights of those insured and address use of governmental coercion over civilians, through extreme infringement of their privacy.
23.2.2023-12835 Association for Civil Rights in Israel National Insurance Institute
Attorney: Ra'ut Sha'ar.
Preliminary response on behalf of the National Insurance Institute, April 2023 (Hebrew)