New bill seeks to heavily tax foreign government-funded NGOs

The bill would impose a maximum tax rate of 45% and strip the income-tax exemption from organizations who are primarily funded by foreign governments.

October 28, 2018 15:57
2 minute read.
Nava Boker

Nava Boker. (photo credit: SHLOMI BEN-DAVID)


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Likud MK Nava Boker submitted a bill that aims to impose heavy taxes on organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments.

The bill would impose a maximum tax rate of 45% and strip the income-tax exemption from organizations which are primarily funded by foreign governments.

The bill’s explanatory notes state that the legislation is intended to “reduce the involvement of foreign governmental entities” by means of Israeli organizations that do “substantial harm to the State of Israel’s basic character and sovereignty.”

Based on previous years’ statistics, organizations primarily funded by foreign governments receive an average annual sum of 55 million shekels ($15 million) from foreign governments. A tax rate of 45% would see the return of some 25 million shekels ($6.7 million) to the public coffers.

There are some 25 organizations registered in Israel that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments, including the far-left NGOs Adalah, HaMoked, Zochrot, Yesh Din and the Coalition of Women for Peace.

“The industry of lies against Israel generates millions of dollars a year,” said Boker. “Those profiting from this antisemitic propaganda are Israeli citizens who are agents of the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement. This bill aims to end the cash flow from international institutions to Israeli NGOs and make it difficult for them to intervene in Israel’s security affairs. That is the only way to prevent these traitors from wreaking destruction on us.”

Matan Peleg, CEO of the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu that has been one of the most vocal critics of foreign governmental funding, said this phenomenon is anti-democratic at its core.

“Rather than respecting the wishes of the Israeli public to determine their own policy at the ballot box, foreign governments are bypassing the public by funding organizations that work to change the country from within while simultaneously encouraging international pressure against Israel,” Peleg said. “This is how we have a situation where millions of dollars pour into these
organizations that work to eliminate the Jewish identity of the state, to defend terrorists in court, and to promote delegitimization against IDF soldiers.”

Mickey Gitzin, who heads the left-wing umbrella New Israel Fund, which receives most of its funding from American donors, not foreign countries, called the bill “classic political persecution.”

“Israel requires a transparent system for all of its organizations,” Gitzin said. “We are always in favor of transparency and revealing the truth, but it is the right-wing organizations who do not reveal the source of their funding. Who knows who stands behind those who want to destroy Israeli democracy?”

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