Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer (L) shakes hands with Hamas Gaza Chief Yehya Al-Sinwar during their meeting in Gaza City, on September 5, 2017.

The Knesset’s Finance Committee pushed off a vote on granting tax breaks for aid organizations operating in the Palestinian Authority (PA) after several committee members accused the organizations of operating against Israel.

Finance Committee Chairman Member of Knesset Moshe Gafni decided on Monday to postpone the vote on a tax break for international aid organizations operating in the PA that would have exempted them from paying taxes on fuel purchases.


According to the Value Added Tax Regulations, the exemption that was up for voting is granted to an international aid organization recognized by the government. The committee was slated to vote on the extension of the exemption to the end of 2021.

MK Bezalel Smotrich rejected the exemption as “a folly” that should not be approved.

“One of the approved organizations is Swedish and partners with extreme groups, helping campaigns to boycott Israel. Another organization is helping anti-Semitic and anti-Israel organizations,” he charged.

The issue will be brought up to be discussed by the committee after “clarifications,” Gafni said.

Smotrich further stated that “you have established a left-wing government, you are allowed. But a government that transfers funds that fuels the war against Israel is not leftist, it is delusional. Where did you get lost? When did you sanctify self-hatred?”

“It’s as if we are not in the throes of Israel’s biggest economic crisis, and Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu] and [Benny] Gantz are seeking benefits for BDS supporters?! How can we complain about European countries if the Israeli government is so irresponsible?” he added.

“It’s good that common sense won. Friends, wake up and do not lend a hand to the war of anti-Semites against the State of Israel,” he concluded.

MK Nir Barkat stated after the session that they were successful in blocking a vote on a regulation that “gives a discount of over half a billion shekels a year to organizations working against Israel and BDS supporters under the guise of  ‘aid organizations’.”

“Supporters of terrorism and anti-state organizations will receive fines rather than benefits,” he stated.


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.