Days after the NGO bill seemed to be history, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are trying to revive it.
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At the request of Netanyahu, MKs Ophir Akunis (Likud) and
Faina Kirschenbaum (Israel Beitenu) drafted a new version of the bill, which the
Ministerial Committee on Legislation is expected to authorize in 10
Following Netanyahu’s call for Akunis to further clarify and define
which organizations are political, the new version of the bill divides NGOs into
three categories, combining elements of both MKs’ original bills.
draft, which is signed by both Akunis and Kirschenbaum, forbids any foreign-
government donations to NGOs that rejects Israel’s right to exist; incites
racism; supports violence against Israel; supports putting Israeli politicians
and IDF soldiers on trial in international courts; calls for boycotts of the
state; or for IDF soldiers to refuse orders.
In addition, donations from within Israel to such organizations will be subject to a 45 percent
Political organizations, such as B’Tselem or Peace Now, will also
have to pay a 45% tax on donations.
However, they will have the option of
undergoing a hearing in the Knesset Finance Committee, which may decide to waive
Non-political organizations that receive state funding will be
taxexempt and may receive unlimited donations from foreign
This category includes Magen David Adom and the Hebrew
University, among other NGOs.
The ministerial committee originally
approved Kirschenbaum’s bill, which would levy a 45% tax on foreign governments’
donations to NGOs, and Akunis’s, which capped such contributions to political
NGOs at NIS 20,000, – but the initiatives were thwarted by an appeal from
Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin, who declared them “dead.”
Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to attempt to pass
Kirschenbaum’s bill despite the appeal, and Netanyahu’s office hurried to find a
compromise that both the prime minister and the foreign minister would find
Earlier this week, Begin expressed confidence the NGO bills
are “practically dead,” due to his appeal, and said Netanyahu is unlikely to
allow them to pass when he and numerous other ministers oppose them.
Hoffman contributed to this report.