The Knesset plenum
Photo: Atta Awisat

Knesset debates probing Leftist NGOs

House in session over controversial bill proposing state inquiry into funding of far Left organizations. HR groups: Bill a true test for Knesset, Israeli democracy

The Knesset convened Wednesday to debate and vote on yet another controversial bill – one calling to form a parliamentary inquiry committee that will focus on the workings of far Left organizations.


The bill was brought before the Knesset by MK Danny Danon (Likud) and MK Faina Kirschenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu).



Human rights organizations slammed the move, saying it was "another bill in a series of legislative moves which cultivate the stifling of criticism. This is a grave move meant to 'mark enemies within' for the sake of political gain."


The bill, added the groups, is a true test for Israeli democracy and Israeli society.


Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni (Kadima) spoke against the bill, calling it a "horrifying notion."


"This bill should never have been conceived. Netanyahu's coalition breeds malevolence," she said. "Not only is the coalition anti-democratic, it impedes Israel's interest. Netanyahu is exploiting Israel's isolation."


MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) added that if the Knesset passes the bill, its members "will never be redeemed," adding that the nature of the bill "befits totalitarian regime."


MK Zahava Galon (Meretz) also spoke harshly, claiming that "no leftist organization has harmed the State of Israel's legitimacy the way the ongoing occupation did…should the prime minister fail to put an end to it, this may lead to bloodshed."


'Fascism is raising its head'

Meanwhile, MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List – Ta'al) warned that "fascism is raising its head, and winning, adding that soon rightists will be assassinating judges.


Responding to leftist charges, Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said the criticism included "plenty of hypocrisy and plenty of demagoguery." Turning to Kadima's members, he said: "You don't care about finding out who tries to arrest Knesset Member Livni every time she arrives in England? You don't care about knowing who funds the sources of de-legitimization?"


Earlier, Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovaly (Likud) also endorsed the bill, while wondering why leftists were scared of it.


"Why do you fear anything? Why is there a fear of a probe?" she said.

MK Danon wishes to probe foreign organizations and governments' funding of Left and extreme Left groups in Israel, especially when it comes to land purchases on their behalf; while Kirschenbaum wants to probe groups affiliated with the radical Left, which she says take an active part in the delegitimization of the IDF.


The bill, whose original motion was carried by a favorable vote of 41 to 16, sparked tensions not only due to its political nature, but also because it pitted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against his biggest coalition partner – Yisrael Beiteinu.


Netanyahu, who has become wary of the public backlash over a series of controversial bills, such as the Boycott Law and the "judges veto bill," decided not to impose party discipline on coalition members for the vote – allowing MKs to vote according to their conscience.


Netanyahu is said to oppose the bill himself and would like to see the coalition members vote it down.


Sources in Yisrael Beiteinu told Ynet that the decision was not seen as grounds for a coalition crisis and that if the vote falls through, the party will introduce the bill once more, next week.




פרסום ראשון: 07.20.11, 15:12
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