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Oct
16

ISRAEL TO CLAMP DOWN ON FOREIGN FUNDING OF NGOS

The Jerusalem  Post published an article titled, “ISRAEL TO CLAMP DOWN ON FOREIGN FUNDING OF NGOS.” The article reads in part as follows;

“The government coalition has unanimously agreed to further limit the funding by foreign governments of political non-governmental organizations in Israel.

A two-pronged attack was agreed upon, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support, in a meeting of coalition party leaders involving legislation and a parliamentary commission of inquiry into “the involvement of foreign governments in the funding of political organizations and activities to harm IDF soldiers,” according to a coalition spokesman.

Speaking at a conference held for Christian media outlets in Jerusalem on Sunday evening at the Israel Museum, Netanyahu further explained the decision to crack down on the funding of NGOs that are perceived as anti-IDF. “There is no army that is more moral than the IDF, it’s a fact, and that’s why we made an important decision today to set up a parliamentary inquiry committee that would check the subject of funding by foreign countries for organizations that act against IDF soldiers.”

“We will put an end to it,” the premier stressed. “Our soldiers keep us safe and we will keep them safe.”

In recent years, the Right has come out against NGOs that testify against Israel and accuse the IDF of war crimes abroad, including before international organizations. Two of the most popular targets are Breaking the Silence, which collects testimony from IDF veterans claiming war crimes, and B’Tselem, “The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.”

In July 2016, the Knesset passed a law requiring any nonprofit organization that receives more than half of its funding from a foreign political entity to indicate as such in any publication or letter to elected officials or civil servants. In addition, a list of the NGOs falling under the bill’s purview, as well as the countries from which they received donations, must be posted on the Non-Profit Registrar’s website.

The vast majority of organizations that would fall under the law’s purview – 25 of 27 NGOs listed by the Justice Ministry at the time – are left-wing.

During the coalition leaders’ meeting, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, the minister connecting the cabinet and the Knesset, suggested that a law be passed “that isn’t full of loopholes and doesn’t let the NGOs hide behind the claim of being human rights activists,” a source in the meeting said.

The legislation’s goal is to prevent other countries from intervening in internal political processes by donating to political organizations. Netanyahu said the bill should focus on foreign government funding.

Coalition chairman David Bitan (Likud) proposed that a parliamentary commission of inquiry look into the matter to “put the subject on the agenda and to embarrass centrist parties” such as Yesh Atid, whose leader Yair Lapid has spoken sharply against NGOs he described as harming IDF soldiers, but who would hesitate to cooperate with the coalition.

Shas leader Arye Deri and MK Moshe Gafni, one of United Torah Judaism’s leaders, enthusiastically backed the proposal, the source said.

Both proposals are expected to be brought to a vote in the Knesset during its winter session, which begins next week.

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg called for expanding the commission of inquiry to look into the sources of right-wing NGOs’ funding, as well.”

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