Israel seeks to end national service in foreign-funded organizations

The Knesset gave its initial approval to a bill that would limit the actions of organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments, many of which act against the state.

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved a bill that bans carrying out one’s national service in organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments.

Women, and in some cases men, serve in the National Service program as a substitute for conscription into the IDF. The volunteers are active in the educational, welfare and medical fields, while some lend their time for various other causes.

Several organizations which operate against Israel and are funded by foreign governments are currently entitled to employ National Service volunteers. The new bill, proposed by Member of Knesset (MK) Amir Ohana, aims to put an end to this phenomenon in which organizations that act against the state receive state benefits, including the time offered by the volunteers and Israeli government funding.

“It is inconceivable that we ourselves provide subsidized manpower to organizations that work on behalf of foreign interests, depict Israel as a war criminal, protect mega-terrorists, and slander IDF soldiers who protect us day and night,” Ohana stated.

According to the 2015 figures obtained by the Zionist movement “Im Tirtzu” from the Ministry of Agriculture, which oversees National Service, there is a total of 11 positions allocated to four organizations that would be affected should the bill become law. Those four organizations are “B’Tselem,” “Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement,” “Israel Social TV,” and “Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.” In addition, one of the main placement organizations for National Service, Shlomit, reported that the “Public Committee Against Torture in Israel” receives one volunteer each year.

Matan Peleg, CEO of the Im Tirtzu movement, which exposed this phenomenon, said that the approval of the bill is “an important and necessary step in defending Israel from foreign governmental intervention. This is a historic day on which the legislature regains its power to protect Israeli sovereignty against those working against it from within.”

He called on the Knesset to pass this bill into law in order to “end the embarrassing absurdity in which the state funds those trying to undermine it.”

There are over 300 NGOs operating in Israel that are funded by foreign governments, primarily by the Europeans, which operate to influence Israel in various aspects and in many cases operate against the Jewish state.

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

In July, the Knesset passed the NGO Transparency Bill, requiring Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) operating in Israel, which receive most of their funding from foreign governments, to be transparent about their actions.

The bill stipulates that any NGO primarily funded by foreign donations would need to state that fact clearly in its publications, reports, and formal communications with any public or government body. It also stipulates that such NGOs’ annual reports, and their communications with state bodies, need to include the full details of their funding sources. NGOs would be fined $7,500 for any violation.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News