Panel to study policy on state support of NGOs

Meeting initiated following complaints from charity organizations over a new Treasury procedure for non-profit organizations applying for financial support from the government.

By
June 10, 2013 21:22
1 minute read.
AVI WORTZMAN

AVI WORTZMAN 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Habayi Hayehudi)

Deputy Minister of Education Avi Wortzman announced the establishment of a joint committee of the Education and Finance Ministries to examine the issue of government funding for NGOs at a meeting of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee on Monday.

The meeting was initiated following complaints from charity organizations over a new Treasury procedure for non-profit organizations applying for financial support from the government –introduced by former finance minister Yuval Steinitz just six days before the previous government was disbanded.

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According to the NGOs, the new instructions pose many obstacles to organizations seeking government support due to requirements which are “impossible to meet” such as a personal liability of the authorized signatories of the organization and “draconian fines” for any delay in submitting bureaucratic documents, among others.

“This new application procedure takes the relationship between the government and the third sector a generation back,” CEO of the Israeli Association of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organization Eitan Mizrahi said at the meeting, “It does not reflect the government’s desire and duty to support our blessed activity for the benefit of society.”

Mizrahi added that such harsh policy is a result of “suspicion and distrust” on the part of the state.

Following Monday’s debate, committee chairman Amram Mitzna decided to freeze the application procedure until 2014, in order to allow its proper examination.

Mitzna said that the current application requirements “narrow the work of organizations and can lead to their collapse.”

“The Treasury policy is very important in defining the share of the third sector in the state’s budget,” he said. “It should provide clear rules in order to maintain good governance and fair support to NGOs, without harming a large number of them.”


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