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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Funding’

Justice Committee Approves NGO Foreign Funding Transparency Bill for Final Vote

Monday, June 27th, 2016

After rejecting dozens of objections, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Wednesday approved for its second and third readings in the Knesset plenum a bill which would require non-governmental organizations that get more than half their funding from foreign governments or governmental agencies to make the public servants and elected officials they meet with aware of this fact and also report it in all their written publicity material.

The committee decided to merge three bills: one sponsored by the government and two other proposed by MKs Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu) and Bezalel Smotrich (HaBayit HaYehudi).

NGOs that will violate the so-called NGO Transparency Law will be fined $7,500. The law, if passed, will not apply retroactively, meaning these organizations will not have to declare such contributions that were received in the past. The law, should it be approved, will go into effect in January 2017 and will only apply to donations received from that date on.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) praised the transparency law, saying it would expose the fact that anti-Israeli NGOs are being funded by foreign governments. She said in a statement, “Countries should know that expressing their opinion about events inside Israel should be done via the familiar diplomatic channels. There is no comparable foreign intervention in a state’s internal affairs anywhere in the world, and there is no democracy that would have approved it. We, too, will not permit such a blunt intervention without exposing its foreign funding sources and bringing it to the public’s attention and to the attention of its elected officials.”

After the bill was approved by a vote of 7-6, Constitution Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi) said the bill was revised to avoid any constitutional harm. Addressing members of the opposition, he said, “You also admit that nothing much is left of [the bill].”

As to the opposition, its members on the committee were not happy. Neither was MK Benny Begin (Likud), who was elected with the strong intervention of Prime Minister Netanyahu, but who might as well be in the opposition. Begin said the legislation may produce results that do not coincide with the legislator’s intention. “We should operate thrrough diplomatic means,” he argued. “This was proven by the negotiations with Holland, Britain and Switzerland.”

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) said, “If it were up to MK Smotrich, the law would differentiate between Jewish and Arab donors. The law is devoid of any legal content.”

MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) said the bill “shames and slanders NGOs which criticize the government’s work. Someone recently said that there are buds of fascism in the country. That is what there is in this law – buds of fascism against organizations that promote human rights.”

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) said the bill clearly “persecutes” NGOs, and called to “throw out of the Knesset legislators who introduce such bizarre laws.”

MK Osama Sa’adi (Joint Arab List) said, “There is a person who contributes tens of millions of dollars to an NGO through a company that is listed in Panama. If we are talking about transparency, then an NGO which is hiding its funds should reveal its sources [of funding].”

MK Revital Swid (Zionist Camp) said the bill was introduced solely “for the political gain of parties that want to show their public that they acted and labeled.”

MK Micky Rosenthal (Zionist Camp) stated that the purpose of the law is to “poke in the eye and say ‘Here, we did it to you on purpose.'” He said NGOs will easily find a way to circumvent the law.

Back in January, Bild, Germany’s largest circulation daily newspaper, supported Shaked’s NGO transparency bill, which had been attacked as anti-democratic by a Washington Post editorial. Bild noted that the criticism of the bill ignores the fact that millions of foreign dollars are given each year to anti-Israeli NGOs which operate inside Israel and support the boycotts against the Jewish State. Can the bill, which merely requires those NGOs to openly reveal their funding sources, really be compared to Putin’s blatantly anti-democratic rule, Bild was wondering.

David Israel

Bereaved Mother at Knesset NGO Law Debate: ‘Foreign Countries Are Funding Terror’

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Devorah Gonen, whose son Danny was murdered by a terrorist while he was hiking near Dolev in Judea and Samaria, told the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Wednesday that the attorneys for her son’s killer were funded by foreign countries. “These funds encourage murder,” she said. “The terrorist knew he would be defended [in court] and that his family would receive funding. The terrorist is still alive, and his family will get a generous support, and I am left with the ‘privilege’ of being a bereaved mother. Foreign countries are funding terror. You must take the consequences of the foreign funding into account.”

The Committee debated a bill requiring NGOs that receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign governments to declare this fact in every publication and at meetings with public officials. The government-sponsored bill had been returned to the committee for hearings and amendments after passing a first reading in the plenum.

During the meeting, MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) argued that an NGO may receive small donations from a number of countries and one large donation from one country, so the legislation “would not help us know how the donations are distributed.”

MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Camp) told the bereaved Gonen: “I sympathize with your feelings and feel the pain of the tragedy you experienced. However, the State of Israel receives billions from foreign countries, and it uses these funds to wage wars which kill people.”

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) added that “government funds are transferred to NGOs for the purpose of building [Jewish] outposts from which terrorist operations emanate. This money is not transparent, and it is kept confidential in the Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations.”

Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi) said representatives from foreign embassies in Israel had asked to participate in the meeting, but he requested that they take part in next week’s debate instead. However, a representative from the Dutch embassy was allowed to audit the meeting nevertheless.

David Israel

FM Kahlon Tussles With Netanyahu Over Casinos in Eilat

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Kulanu party chairman and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon apparently is teaming up with Bayit Yehudi chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett in a minor political brawl against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The argument is over funding, as usual – this time, a plan to open a casino in Eilat.

In the past Kahlon has sidestepped the issue altogether by saying, “Everyone knows there will not be a casino here.”

The Finance Ministry has taken steps to block gambling activities that target Israelis and others who have low incomes and difficulty walking away from their hopes for easy money.

“Last week we decided to put an end to slot machines and horse races – gambling activities that ruin families. These machines are placed in poor neighborhoods to sell them illusions and hopes while taking money out of their pockets,” Kahlon said, according to the Globes business news site.

“Sadly, this has been going on since 2003 – it has been talked about for years and we decided to take action; soon we’ll remove them, and Mifal HaPayis can scrap them as far as I’m concerned.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu appointed Tourism Minister Yariv Levin to head a commission to look into the possibility of developing a gambling spot in the southern resort city.

But Kahlon told journalists at the start of the Kulanu faction meeting in the Knesset on Monday: “The State of Israel does not need casinos. It needs to provide education, values, and jobs – not a casino.”

Hana Levi Julian

France Continues Funding PA General Budget, thereby Paying Salaries to Terrorists

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

{Originally posted to the PMW website}

Following Palestinian Media Watch‘s exposure that the Palestinian Authority general budget funds the PA hate and terror promotion and rewards terrorist prisoners with high salaries, the US, the EU, Norway, and other European donors all stopped giving money to the PA general budget so that their money would not go directly to pay salaries for Palestinian terrorists.

This is not true for France. The PA announced last week that France signed agreements to give the PA money for various projects and in addition: “financial aid directly to the public treasury in the amount of 8 million euro.”

The PA general budget that France is contributing to pays monthly salaries to terrorists like Hamas bomb maker Abdallah Barghouti, whose bombs murdered 67 people, and Abbas Al-Sayid, who planned two suicide bombings in which 35 were killed, as well as all other Palestinians imprisoned for terror crimes.

The French government should note that the PA pays more than $12 million a month in salaries to terrorist prisoners. [Official PA TV, June 11, 2014] Accordingly, France’s 8 million euro ($8.9 million) will cover approximately three weeks of terrorists’ salaries.

The PA salary payments to terrorists have been documented extensively by PMW since 2011, most recently in the report The PA’s Billion Dollar Fraud, which documents that despite having promised international donors that it had ceased rewarding terrorists with salaries, the PA still continues this practice.

Recently, Mahmoud Abbas has indirectly confirmed PMW’s charge. When the Norwegian Foreign Minister complained to Abbas about the PA paying terrorists’ salaries, Abbas did not deny it but said it is not with Norwegian money: “In the meeting, I emphasized that this support program in which financial payments are increased the [longer] the prisoners serve time [in prison], is unacceptable… Abbas responded by repeating assurances that Norwegian funds are not going to finance the program.” [Dagen (Norway), May 4, 2016]

This is not true for France, which funds the PA budget directly.

The following is the article in the PA daily about French funding of the PA’s general budget:

“[PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah briefed the government members during the weekly meeting held today [May 25, 2016] in Ramallah, regarding results of the meeting he held in his office yesterday with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls… The [PA] prime minister expressed his gratitude to the French government for the ongoing support that it gives to the Palestinian people, whether directly or through the European Union. Likewise, he praised the three agreements that were signed during the visit. They are the agreement to fund the administration of a wastewater project in Hebron in the amount of 13 million euro, the agreement to carry out research and for the French Agency to give technical aid for future development of Palestine in the amount of 500,000 euro, and the agreement to give financial aid directly to the public treasury in the amount of 8 million euro.”
[Donia Al-Watan (independent Palestinian news agency), May 25, 2016]

Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf:
“The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs [Today the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, that receives the same budget from the PA, Ed.] established in the Palestinian National Authority has the third highest monthly budget in the PA, meaning it is the third largest PA government ministry. That is, over 40 million shekels [i.e., 12 million dollars] a month, which the Palestinian Authority pays the prisoners, the released prisoners and their families.”
[Official PA TV, June 11, 2014]
Palestinian Media Watch

Network Funding Arab Violence on Temple Mount Indicted

Monday, April 18th, 2016

A combined investigation of Police and Shabak yielded evidence of the existence of a terror financing network that has been in operation over a significant time period. The network provided funds to members of the illegal Almoravid movement who are active on the Temple Mount, to pay for their acts of violence intended to discourage visitors from attempting to ascend to the compound.

The Almoravid (Morabiton) are named after a federation of Muslim Berber peoples that established an empire in Morocco, Algeria, and Spain in the 11th century.

While the suspects in operating the network were being interrogated, police took separate action against dozens of Almoravid field operators whose involvement was being exposed. The latter are still under investigation.

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s office on Monday submitted an indictment against Mohammed Jabarin, an Israeli Arab from Umm al-Fahm, and two Arab residents of Silwan, in eastern Jerusalem, for crimes involving funding terrorism and an illegal association.

David Israel

IDF Deprives Terrorists of Ramallah Business Funds

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

An elite unit of the IDF entered the Palestinian Authority capital city of Ramallah in a pre-dawn raid in Samaria on Thursday. Its mission: to deprive a money changer of funds with which he was funding terrorist activities.

An IDF spokesperson said the money changer had “failed to comply with IDF directives to open the safe, [so] the forces carried out a controlled detonation [to open it.]”

Minor clashes between IDF soldiers and rioting Arabs in central Ramallah followed the operation, as did a fire that spread to the nearby vegetable market due to the explosion.

No injuries were reported.

Hana Levi Julian

Government to Vote Wednesday on Billion Shekel Plan to Help Arab Sector

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Arab officials have expressed outrage at the government’s decision to delay by three days a vote on a major five-year plan involving funding in huge segments of Arab municipalities.

The government postponed the vote until Wednesday on a NIS 15b funding plan for education, transportation, housing and employment because the targeted cities did not include mixed Arab-Jewish populations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Social Services Minister Gila Gamliel created the plan allegedly hoping to change the way government allocates its funding for such purposes.

The ministers were reportedly hoping to give a swift economic push for development of Arab society in Israel, thereby narrowing the gaps between the Jewish and Arab populations.

But Likud Science Minister Ofir Akunis and Culture Minister Miri Regev both objected to the plan due to its lack of balance.

“It’s very important to include the mixed cities,” said Regev. “We’re allowed to represent them and we should not apologize because they [the mayors] are from Likud … not all of them are. We’re talking about Haifa, Tel Aviv-Yafo (Jaffa), Ramle, Lod and Akko – these billions of shekels need to serve the Arab public in mixed cities as well,” she said.

If passed, NIS 1.2 billion will be allocated to promote construction in Arab municipalities and NIS 1.4 billion will be used to improve public transportation in local authorities. For example, information about public schedules will be translated to Arabic for the first time and there will be an increase for subsidies to public transportation in Arab communities.

A full 40 percent of the State of Israel public transportation budget will be used in the Arab sector. In addition, 32.5 percent of funding in the economic development and employment sector will be allocated in 2016 to the development of industrial zones in Arab municipalities. Plus, 17.5 percent of the Small and Medium Business Agency budget will be allocated to Arab sector businesses.

The plan also includes significant investment in Arab sector education, particularly in the field of training educators in both elementary and higher education.

But nothing ever seems to be enough: Arab officials were outraged by the decision to postpone the vote three days, till Wednesday.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/government-to-vote-wednesday-on-billion-shekel-plan-to-help-arab-sector/2015/12/28/

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