Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to suspend debate on a Likud resolution denying the tax credit enjoyed by Israeli donors to NGOs that receive contributions from a foreign entity, and in the two years before or after said donations promoted a public cause by appealing to the court, the Knesset, the government, the municipalities or bought advertising space (US Angry at 65% Tax on Hostile Israeli NGOs Receiving Foreign Contributions).
The proposed bill, by Likud MK Ariel Kallner, will be submitted to the ministerial legislative committee on Sunday, but will not be debated.
Meanwhile, in keeping with the coalition agreements between Likud and Otzma Yehudit, PM Netanyahu’s cabinet on Sunday is scheduled to debate a proposed resolution placing a decisive weight on Zionist values in decision-making and policy of all government ministries. The solution is promoted by Otzma’s Minister of the Negev, the Galilee, and National Resilience Yitzhak Wasserlauf.
On Thursday and Friday, Germany and France joined the call from the Biden administration not to submit the NGOs bill. The German Foreign Office tweeted on Friday: “We are concerned about a draft law in Israel to tax public foreign grants to NGOs. German-Israeli relations are characterized by a variety of precious people-to-people exchanges, especially between actors of our respective civil societies. This draft law jeopardizes what we’ve built.”
We are concerned about a draft law in #Israel to tax public foreign grants to NGOs. ??-?? relations are characterized by a variety of precious people-to-people exchanges, especially between actors of our respective civil societies. This draft law jeopardizes what we’ve built.
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) May 26, 2023
Two weeks ago, US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Committee, Michele Taylor, said publicly that “Israel must ensure that human rights organizations and other non-governmental organizations can operate freely, without economic or legal pressures being applied to them that would harm their activities.”
This is not the first time Netanyahu suspends similar legislation against anti-Israeli NGOs – he suspended a similar bill in 2016, under pressure from the Obama administration and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But this time, the legislation is anchored in a coalition agreement between Otzma Yehudit and Likud to enact a law against hostile NGOs within 180 days from the establishment of the coalition government.
Speaking of 180 days and Likud-Otzma agreements, Minister Wasserlauf proclaimed the Zionist values resolution: “Zionism comes before anything else. The decision will allow us to give priority (in housing and land procurements – DI) to veterans in general and combat veterans in particular and to bolster [Jewish] settlement in the Negev and the Galilee.”
The resolution states that “the values of Zionism, as they are reflected in the Basic Law: Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, will be the guiding and decisive values in the design of public administration policy, domestic and foreign policy, legislation, and the actions of the government and all its components, both in the design phase of public policy and In the assimilation and implementation of the public policy, without deviating from the principles enshrined in the Basic Laws.”
And now, sit back and wait for irate voices from the American and German governments about the preferential treatment of Jews in areas that are majority-Arab in northern and southern Israel, followed by you-know-who suspending the resolution.
The Israeli adage that best fits this scenario is: “We’ve seen this movie already.”