Israel ends national service in foreign-funded organizations

The Knesset approved a bill limiting organizations that receive significant funding from foreign governments, many of which act against the state.

The Knesset on Wednesday voted into law a bill banning the option of performing national service in organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments.

The bill, submitted by Member of Knesset (MK) Amir Ohana, received 40 votes in favor and 12 against.

Many women and a smaller number of men serve in Israel’s National Service program as a substitute for IDF conscription. The volunteers are active in fields that include: educational, welfare, and health.

Several organizations, which operate against Israel and are funded by foreign governments, have been entitled to employ National Service volunteers. The bill puts an end to the phenomenon of such organizations receiving volunteer time and Israeli government funding.

The bill, supported by Prime Minister Netanyahu, was drafted following a report by the Zionist student organization Im Tirtzu, which discovered twelve national service positions available in five organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments.

According to the report, the organizations that fall under the law’s purview include B’Tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Gisha, which have repeatedly accused Israel of war crimes in international forums, Israel Social TV, which provides a platform for the BDS movement, and the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, which has petitioned the High Court against government policy.

Ohana stated that “this absurdity wherein the State of Israel provides manpower via national service to organizations that work against it in various ways, both in Israel and abroad, ends today. I want to thank Matan Peleg and my friends at Im Tirtzu who informed me of this absurd reality, as well as the Prime Minister and all those who supported the bill.”

“Time has come that we proudly and unapologetically work against those who act against the State of Israel – in Israel and abroad,” added Ohana in his speech from the Knesset plenum. “We will not make life easy for Trojan horses operating among us. Whoever goes after the State of Israel – we will go after them.”

There are over 300 foreign funded NGOs in Israel, mostly backed by Europe. Many attempt to influence Israeli policy and frequently operate against the Jewish state.

According to 2015 data published by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, European governments funnel a staggering sum of 100-200 million euros annually to anti-Israel organizations operating under the guise of human rights advocacy.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News