Begin declares NGO bills ‘practically dead’

Ministers can only vote on bills if PM decides to revive them, which he is unlikely to do; Lieberman says he "won't give up."

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
November 29, 2011 06:15
2 minute read.
Minister Benny Begin

Minister Benny Begin 58. (photo credit: Pool)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Senior ministers sent mixed signals on the future of the disputed NGO bills on Monday, with Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin proclaiming them “practically dead,” and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman insisting one of them will be brought to a vote on Wednesday.

The bills in question limit donations from foreign governments and international organizations to NGOs. One, by MK Ophir Akunis (Likud) would cap such contributions at NIS 20,000, if they are sent to political organizations. The other, drafted by MK Faina Kirschenbaum (Israel Beiteinu), seeks to levy a 45 percent tax on donations from foreign governments to any NGO.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
PM speaks out against bills limiting High Court
Rights groups slam bill limiting High Court power

The NGO bills have faced fierce opposition from leftwing politicians and organizations, as well as some ministers in the coalition, claiming that the measures limit freedom of expression. Kirschenbaum and Akunis, however, have said their initiatives will prevent foreign governments and international organizations from intervening in Israeli politics.

Israel Beiteinu put Kirschenbaum’s initiative on the Knesset agenda for a preliminary vote on Wednesday, with Lieberman saying his party “won’t give up on this bill.”

“We expect the coalition to consider our promises to our voters,” Lieberman said.

“When there is ‘land-mine’ legislation, we prefer to find ways to dismantle the mine and not make it explode.” However, the foreign minister said he would be willing to delay the vote by a week if the coalition leadership requests that his party do so.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Sources in the Likud, however, said the bill has no possibility of passing.

Begin told the The Jerusalem Post on Monday that once the bills were approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, he appealed to the ministerial plenum.

Begin’s appeal means the ministers can only vote on the bills again if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decides to revive them, which he is unlikely to do in light of opposition by Begin and other ministers.

“The bill is dead,” Begin told the Post. “If there’s a medical term for ‘practically dead,’ that’s what the bill would be.”

Akunis underwent throat surgery last week, and is currently unable to speak, but his spokesman said his bill will not be brought to a vote as long as it isn’t approved by the ministers.

However, Kirschenbaum’s initiative is still on the agenda.

Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) cited “simple math” to explain that the bill has no chance of passing.

According to Elkin, even if there is coalition discipline in favor of the NGO bill, ministers will not be required to vote against a government decision.

Therefore, with all opposition factions other than the National Union likely to oppose the measure, and many ministers absent from the Knesset, the bill cannot get a majority vote in the plenum.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN