Months after authorizing the controversial NGO Bill – which taxes pro-boycott organizations – a new, more strident draft of the bill will be debated in the Knesset's Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs.
The NGO Bill, submitted by MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi),
sought to impose a heavy tax on NGOs which receive contributions from foreign entities whose goals are to boycott Israel
or its citizens, attempt to prosecute IDF
soldiers or incite to racism.
The revamped draft now calls for further restrictions on groups who undermine Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state, blocking them from registering in Israel.
The proposed amendment, sponsored by Likud
MK Miri Regev, changes one of the bill's articles so that such groups will be barred from even registering with the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits – the governmental body charged with overseeing such organizations and granting them not-for-profit status.
"The current legislation does not address the issue of preventing the registration of non-profits whose goals include denying the Jewish character of the State," the amendment's proposal read. "Hence, it is proposed denying such organizations the ability to register, in accordance to Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty," one of Israel's constitution-like Basic Laws.
According to MK Regev, "it is time to put an end to the radical NGOs' party, they're wolves in sheep's clothing.
"Israel is not a regular country that can allow itself to lose its identity, but these organizations' activities harm the State which allows them to work. Organizations working under the auspices of the Registrar of Non-Profits and Justice Ministry create a distorted reality.
"One the one hand they register in accordance with the State's unique character, but on the other hand, the law allows them to undermine and destroy the State from the inside under the guise of charity and aid," Regev said.
After the initial bill passed the Knesset's Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs, representatives of the left slammed the proposal, calling it "dangerous and dictatorial," claiming the bill was intended to silence any one who dares to criticize the administration and think differently.
At the time, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni
said she intended to appeal the proposed legislation.
The bill proposed a 45% tax charged on nonprofit foundations and organizations that receive foreign donations and that take part in the following activities:
- Advocating the boycott, divestment, or sanctioning of Israel or its citizens.
- Calling for the trial of IDF soldiers in international courts.
- Denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state.
- Inciting to racism.
- Supporting armed struggle against the State of Israel by an enemy state or terror organization.
Habayit Hayehudi welcomed the approval of the bill, saying: "The bill will help defend IDF soldiers from perverse lawsuits funded by foreign actors. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's appeal against the bill is an irresponsible move."
The statement added: "Every day in which the bill does not become law, IDF soldiers are in danger and their operational ability is damaged. Minister Livni would do well do put aside political considerations and stop delaying this bill."