Israel can no longer allow people to spit in its face, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday, emphasizing his support for a bill limiting funding to NGOs from foreign governments.
“We the taxpayers are funding organizations that try to harm IDF soldiers day in and day out, that promote a boycott of the State of Israel, through tax benefits,” the minister said at a Bayit Yehudi faction meeting. “The masochism must stop.”
The bill Bennett discussed was proposed by Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked and MK Robert Ilatov (Likud Beytenu) and approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.
But Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Health Minister Yael German submitted an appeal of the vote.
The proposal amends the Income Tax Law so that NGOs will have to pay 45 percent tax on donations from foreign governments if the organization does one of the following: Calls for IDF soldiers to be brought to international courts, calls for boycotts, divestment of sanctions of the State of Israel or its citizens, incite to racism or support armed battle by an enemy state or terror organization against Israel.
Bennett took issue with the contention that the bill goes after left-wing organizations, saying “there is no connection between extremist NGOs and the Zionist left, and I don’t understand why Livni, Lapid and German, who are from the Zionist Left, submitted an appeal against a bill protecting IDF soldiers.”
One extremist organization, according to Bennett, is Adallah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
“A lawyer from Adallah told a court in Spain that seven senior Israeli officials are war criminals. This organization also accused the IDF of crimes against humanity and war crimes, and starred in the Goldstone Report [on Operation Cast Lead] with 38 mentions in an anti-Israel context,” he said.
According to Bennett, the “NGO Bill” is essential because it allows Israel to protect its soldiers and its sovereignty by fighting “anti-Israel NGOs.”
The Bayit Yehudi leader also said that in France, a person who contacts a foreign entity to commit hostile acts against the country goes to prison for 30 years and pays 450,000 Euro.
“I’d go further than just putting a 45 percent tax [on donations from foreign governments]. We can’t allow foreign money to spit in our faces,” he said.
On Sunday, a spokeswoman for the New Israel Fund, which backs Adalah among other NGOs, said the bill is “meant to get rid of freedom of expression and opinion in Israel and causes serious harm to Israeli democracy.”
“Anyone who cares about Israel should come out against this bill,” the NIF spokeswoman said.
“[This bill] means blacklists and following what people say and taxing them according to their opinion. It will do the opposite of its goal and lead to Israel being even more isolated from the world.”