Once again the Knesset will entertain a bill that calls for limits on donations from foreign entities to Non-Governmental Organizations in Israel. Legislative proceedings of the same proposed bill were suspended in the last Knesset because the Attorney General opposed it, but MK Ayelet Shaked from Jewish Home and Yisrael Beiteinu’s MK Robert Iltov have filed a new version, which, they say, is “softer.”
Under the proposed new bill, an organization will not be permitted to receive donations from a foreign political entity more than NIS 20 thousand (roughly $5,500) in one year, if said entity rejects the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, calls for a boycott of Israel, or promotes the prosecution of IDF soldiers abroad.
Mk Michal Rosen from Meretz said in response that this is a dangerous proposition, which will limit democracy.
MK Shaked told Walla: “It is inconceivable that Israel would allow unlimited involvement of foreign countries which influence its character and values. The Israeli democracy is under a twofold attack: foreign funds distort the power and the will of the Israeli voter and give an extremist minority a louder voice than the voice of the Israeli majority.”
According to Shaked, “This extremist minority is endangering the State of Israel and serves as an arrowhead for a global delegitimization of Israel. This important new law will help dramatically in the fight against this phenomenon and will place a limit on foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Israel.”
MK Robert Iltov added: “There are organizations that exploit and abuse their public status and operate against the State of Israel as a Jewish and Zionist entity. These organizations seek to dismantle the foundations of the state and work to create a false and negative image in the international arena. Therefore it is necessary to reduce their ability to blacken the face of Israel.”
The proposal is expected to pose a challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and to create friction within the coalition. Its chances for passage are low, especially if the new version still fails to surmount the legal opinion submitted by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein in December, 2011. Back then, Weinstein wrote that “the Associations Law suffers from a defect of unconstitutionality.”
Still, a country that just gave up its 4th amendment rights just to let cops barge into noisy apartments could just as easily agree to suspend its 1st amendment rights for the sake of shutting down those smug, leftist organizations. Of course, this would potentially mean that the Peres Peace Center, which draws its funds from European and American left wing sponsors, would have to rent its main hall for weddings and bar-mitzvahs to survive.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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