Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party will demand that the Ministerial Committee on Legislation discuss Knesset Member Faina Kirshenbaum's proposal to impose a 45 percent tax on any donations Israeli non-profit organizations receive from foreign countries, party officials said Tuesday.
In what appears to be an attempt to lure more rightist voters, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to support a proposal which calls for imposing restrictions on foreign funding available to leftist organizations in Israel.
The proposal was submitted by Knesset Member Ofir Akunis of Netanyahu's Likud party.
- Foreign Ministry doesn’t want Left donations limited
- PM supports curbing Left's foreign fundingLeftists: Probe against us 'McCarthyism'
On Monday Channel 2 aired a report according to which the committee will debate legislation barring foreign governments and international organizations from contributing to leftist organizations, and both Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman will back the bill. Kirshenbaum's motion does not bar Israeli organizations from accepting foreign contributions.
Some experts estimate that Netanyahu's decision to back the legislation is aimed at softening the rightist bloc ahead of the planned evacuation of additional Jewish outposts in the West Bank. "This may be a case of compensation through legislation," one politician said.
In any case, it is the Israeli leftist groups that are due to pay the price, as they rely heavily on donations from foreign countries – mainly in Europe. Rightist groups rely mainly on private contributions.
An Yisrael Beiteinu official said he was "not surprised that Netanyahu is adopting (the party's) agenda," but added that the PM should have coordinated the initiative with Yisrael Beiteinu, the second largest party in the coalition.
Yisrael Beiteinu contends that Kirshenbaum's proposal makes more sense – both fiscally and socially – than Akunis's bill. Kirshenbaum told Ynet on Tuesday, "We are living in an era of social justice, so to say that we categorically forbid the acceptance of foreign donations would be akin to (throwing the baby out with the bath water).
"It is true that there are those who are trying to delegitimize Israel with the help of these contributions and there are those who want to put IDF soldiers on trial, but there are also many good social groups that would collapse without these donations," she said.
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