Jerusalem, Israel - Mar. 12, 2019 - President Reuven Rivlin, Tuesday, March 12 / 5 Adar II, met with 21 State Comptrollers, a delegation representing 42 countries in Europe and Asia, as part of a conference organized by the State Comptroller’s Office on dealing with global issues and best practices in state auditing. State Comptroller Judge (ret) Yosef Shapira and head of the Supreme Audit Office of the Czech Republic and First Vice-President of EUROSAI, the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions, Miloslav Kala also spoke at the event.

“In Israel, the State Comptroller has an extremely important role,” said the president. “I like to describe it as the fourth branch of government. We believe that oversight, auditing and criticism are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Israel’s State Comptroller, under the strong leadership of Judge Yosef Shapira, is an active and independent institution, which enjoys the trust of our citizens. It is a pillar of our vibrant democracy. I have no doubt that by sharing knowledge and best practices, we can work together to meet these challenges.”

Introducing the delegates Shapira said: “What all your guests have in common with each other, and with me and you, Mr. President, is a strong commitment to better the lives of their nations' citizens. Our conference will look at how to make the lives of the citizens better today, and also how to prepare for the future, or for emergency situations. Because, as you know, Mr. President, 'what you don't prepare for the winter, you won't have in the winter'. So, we are getting prepared, and making sure our governments do the same.” Shapira mentioned he and the president grew up together in Jerusalem and were childhood playmates, adding it was unusual for them to be speaking in English, instead of Hebrew.

Kala from the Czech Republic, said, “Mr President, it’s a great honor to be here. We are here representing 49 countries from Europe and Asia, serving our governments and citizens. We have come to Israel not only because it is a natural bridge between Europe and Asia, but because the institution of State Comptroller here in Israel is strong and influential. We have come to learn and to share information and experience.”

The international visitors were given a brief tour of the Beit Hanasi, its history and gardens before meeting in the private diplomatic room with the president and posed for group photo before leaving the President's Residence.