PM-backed bill to limit political fundraising passes hurdle

The Ministerial Committee on legislation advanced the so-called V15 Bill, named after an organization that campaigned against him in last year’s election.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
March 20, 2016 04:44
1 minute read.
YOAV KISCH.

YOAV KISCH.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A bill strongly backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that would limit fundraising for political organizations passed a hurdle on Sunday.

The Ministerial Committee on legislation advanced the so-called V15 Bill, named after an organization that campaigned against him in last year’s election.

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Proposed by Likud MK Yoav Kisch, the legislation would prevent organizations involved in elections from raising more than NIS 1,000 a month. Netanyahu’s close confidant attorney David Shimron reportedly helped draft the proposal.

But the initiative is opposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi), who is concerned that it could limit right-wing organizations.

Shaked headed such organizations in the past.

“She believes the bill is too extreme,” a source close to Shaked said. “It would not allow any serious political activity, especially at the time of elections. It could result in political parties having to spend more, which could doom a small party.”

Kisch praised the advancement of the bill, saying "Unlike the elections in America, we will not let money decide who wins in Israel."

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V15 caused headaches for Netanyahu by hosting rallies against him and spending huge sums on billboards and canvasing voters. Such activity was legal, because the NGO did not tell voters to support a specific party or candidate.

Since its failure in the election, V15 merged with the veteran pro-two state lobby OneVoice Movement into a new organization called Darkenu (Our Way).

“Netanyahu planned this legislation in a sloppy way,” Darkenu’s national campaign manager, Nimrod Dweck, said. “It is logical that the bill will fail, because the ability of citizens to engage in political protests cannot be limited by the Knesset, no matter what the views of the MKs. It is a basic right of citizens in a democracy.”

Darkenu plans to begin a major anti-Netanyahu campaign by the end of the month that will paint the prime minister as ineffective against terrorism.

“We want to show Israelis that there is a different reality possible on security and diplomatic issues,” Darkenu spokesman Eyal Basson said.

“There are alternatives that can be pointed out while working not for parties but for ideas and pragmatism.”

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