Yisrael Beytenu MK Avigdor Liberman .
(photo credit: KOBI ZOLTAK)
Legislation taxing foreign government contributions to NGOs deemed as acting in the donors’ interest passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday.
The bill proposed by MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), would label an NGO a foreign agent if it receives funds from another government in exchange for what is perceived as promoting the interests of a foreign entity.
If the initiative becomes law, the NGO will have to report on such commitments and label itself as a foreign agent on all publications or face a NIS 14,400, to NIS 29,200 fine.
The donations from foreign governments would also be taxable, as opposed to most current donations made to NGOs.
Hospitals and institutes of higher education are exempted from the measure.
The proposal will be attached to the government’s NGO transparency legislation, which instructs any organization that receives most of its funding from a foreign political entity to say so in all its publications and at meetings with government officials.
Ilatov’s bill’s explanatory portion says it targets dozens of organizations which are currently not required to disclose such details about the nature of their overseas connections.
The measure is in addition to a controversial Justice Ministry bill that, in addition to an existing law requiring the reporting of foreign-government funding, would require any nonprofit organization that receives most of its funding from a foreign political entity to label itself as such in any publication.
Ilatov said such organizations as his measure targets “promote foreign interests, which are often completely at odds with Israeli interests.
“My bill will make this activity not worthwhile,” he said. “The time has come to uncover and harm all of those moles who are trying to harm and destroy Israel from the inside.”
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal- On accused Yisrael Beytenu of being foreign agents for Azerbaijan.
“They receive benefits from Azerbaijan.
When Liberman was foreign minister, he promoted Azeri government- run companies. You want to prevent the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, because you are agents of the government of Azerbaijan,” she said.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman responded that in 2001, police questioned Gal-On for fraud for allegedly accepting €80,000 for the European Union to organize conferences, while she was director-general of the International Center for Middle East Peace. Lieberman alleged that none of these conferences were ever held though the case was closed for lack of evidence.