MKs revive bill to block funding of left-wing NGOS

Bayit Yehudi, Yisrael Beytenu legislation would cap foreign entities’ donations at NIS 20,000 to NGOs advocating boycott.

AYELET SHAKED 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Legislation meant to severely limit funding of left-wing organizations is back on the Knesset’s agenda, with Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked and Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov submitting a new version of the controversial bill Tuesday.
According to the bill, NGOs may not receive contributions of over NIS 20,000 from a “foreign political entity” if the organization, its members, a member of its management or one of its employees calls for IDF soldiers to be brought to international courts, calls for boycotts, divestment or sanctions (BDS) of Israel or its citizens, denies Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, incites to racism or support armed combat by an enemy state or terrorist organization against Israel.
“It cannot be that the State of Israel allows unlimited involvement of foreign countries to influence its character and values,” Shaked said.
“Israeli democracy is under a double attack. Foreign funding twists the power and will of Israeli voters and gives an extremist majority a greater ability to express itself than most of the Israeli public. That extremist majority endangers the State of Israel and is used as the arrowhead in the word’s attempts to delegitimize Israel.”
Shaked said the bill will dramatically help the government fight these phenomena and limit how much foreign countries can be involved in Israel’s internal affairs.
Ilatov explained that NGOs take advantage of their status and act against Israel as a Jewish, Zionist state.
“These NGOs want to take apart the foundations of the country and act to create a false, negative image in the international arena; therefore, there is a need to reduce their ability to blacken the State of Israel’s name,” he said.
The legislation was inspired by reports by Zionist advocacy NGO Im Tirzu, which concluded that foreign governments funded and continue to fund Israeli organizations that support BDS and call for IDF soldiers to be put on trial for war crimes.
“Israel’s enemies market the fight against them as one for human rights, but in reality they obsessively try to delegitimize Israel,” Im Tirzu chairman Ronen Shoval said. “The Knesset must act determinedly to protect Israeli democracy from those trying to destroy it.”
In the previous Knesset, Likud MK Ofir Akunis and Yisrael Beytenu MK Faina Kirschenbaum, both currently Likud Beytenu deputy ministers, proposed similar legislation, which was blocked by then-minister without portfolio Bennie Begin, who declared the bills “dead.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman promised to revive the bills, but they never ended up getting passed.