Knesset inquiry into foreign-funded NGOs is ‘dead’

Likud MK drafts ‘Soros bill’ to stop ‘antisemites’ from donating to Israeli organizations.

By
October 31, 2017 00:05
2 minute read.
Knesset

sraeli lawmakers attend a vote on a bill at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem February 6, 2017. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

 
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

The coalition backed down from its proposal to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry into funding by foreign governments of NGOs that seek to put IDF soldiers on trial in international tribunals.

Coalition chairman David Bitan (Likud) declared the commission, which was his brainchild, to be “dead.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The commission would have looked into foreign governments’ funding of organizations in Israel – information which is available on the Justice Ministry’s website, in accordance with laws passed in recent years. The vast majority of NGOs that receive most of their donations from foreign political entities are left-wing.

Bitan’s comment came in light of Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon’s stance that the topic is not within the Knesset’s authority to investigate, because it is not part of overseeing the executive branch of government, and because it is a matter ideology.

Yinon sent his opinion to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein nearly two weeks ago.

Knesset House Committee chairman Yoav Kisch (Likud) blasted Yinon in a meeting of the panel, saying: “We won’t give in to the lawyers’ coup. We will build a wall to block the attempt to neuter the Knesset and turn the people’s representatives into slaves to legal questions.”

Several opposition MKs expressed outrage at Kisch, who removed two of them from the meeting for repeated interruptions.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Zionist Union MK Yoel Hasson told Kisch he is bullying a bureaucrat who can’t respond.

MK Miki Rosenthal, also of the Zionist Union, accused the coalition of wanting a “dangerous tyranny of the majority.”

Yinon said: “It’s not the Knesset’s job to establish commissions of inquiry on civil society groups on the left and right... We have to keep the limits of the parliament in order not to slide into McCarthyism.”

The legal adviser also pointed out that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein could have decided not to accept the legal opinion, but did.

The coalition still plans to promote laws that would block foreign governments from funding political organizations in Israel, but such laws have yet to be drafted.

Meanwhile, Likud MK Miki Zohar turned his attention to individuals’ donations to Israeli NGOs, with what he called the “Soros bill.”

Zohar’s proposal would stop donors who are “antisemitic, inciting or hostile to Israel” from contributing to Israeli NGOs. The Strategic Affairs Ministry would determine who falls into that category.

The bill is named after Hungarian- born Jewish-American billionaire George Soros, whose Open Society Foundations donate to several leftwing NGOs, which Zohar characterized as “anti-Israel.” Among the organizations the Likud MK listed are Adalah, which provides legal aid to Israeli Arabs, B’Tselem, which focuses on human rights in the West Bank and Breaking the Silence, which collects testimony from IDF veterans claiming war crimes.

“This bill hopes to minimize the influence of bodies that harm the State of Israel,” Zohar said. “I plan to promote this important bill... in order to defend Israeli democracy and prevent hostile elements from harming it.”

Open Society Foundations did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

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

Nvidia chief scientist Bill Dally addresses the GPU Technology Conference in Tel Aviv
October 20, 2018
Israel ‘most exciting’ for tech giant Nvidia, says company exec

By EYTAN HALON