Likud bill seeks to bury foreign-funded NGOs in high taxes

“Foreign governments are bypassing the public by funding organizations that work to change the country from within,” said Im Tirzu CEO Matan Peleg.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

A new bill submitted by Deputy Speaker of the Knesset MK Nava Boker (Likud) aims to impose heavy taxes on organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments.

If the bill becomes law, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) primarily funded by foreign governments would face a maximum tax rate of 45 percent and be stripped of their tax-exempt status.

The bill’s explanatory notes state that the legislation is intended to “reduce the involvement of foreign governmental entities” through Israeli NGOs that do “substantial harm to the State of Israel’s basic character and sovereignty.”

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.

Millions to anti-Israel organizations

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.

There are some 25 organizations registered in Israel that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments, including the far-left NGO Adalah that defends Palestinian terrorists in court, and Coalition of Women for Peace and Who Profits that promote the anti-Israel BDS movement.

HaMoked, a legal advocacy group for Palestinian terrorists, received in 2012-2016 over NIS 15,500,000 ($4,080,000) from the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and 11 European governments: Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom.

In addition, in 2008-2012 HaMoked received nearly NIS 3,000,000 ($790,000)) from the New Israel Fund, and in 2014, NIS 3,300,000 ($870,000) from a Palestinian foundation based in Ramallah.

Other European-funded NGOs include Zochrot, which operates to eliminate the Jewish character of the State of Israel by promoting the resettlement of millions of Palestinians in Israel, and Yesh Din, which accuses Israeli soldiers of perpetrating war crimes and petitions Israel’s Supreme Court against the Israel Defense Forces.

“The industry of lies against Israel generates millions of dollars a year,” said Boker, “and the ones profiting from this anti-Semitic propaganda are Israeli citizens who are agents of the BDS movement.”

“This bill aims to end the cash flow from international institutions to Israeli NGOs and make it difficult for them to intervene in Israel’s security affairs. That is the only way to prevent these traitors from wreaking destruction on us,” the Israeli lawmaker added.

Activist backs bill

Matan Peleg, CEO of the Zionist Im Tirzu organization who has been one of the most vocal critics of foreign governmental funding, said that this phenomenon is anti-democratic at its core.

“Rather than respecting the wishes of the Israeli public to determine their own policy at the ballot box, foreign governments are bypassing the public by funding organizations that work to change the country from within while simultaneously encouraging international pressure against Israel.”

“This is how we have a situation where millions of dollars pour into these organizations that work to eliminate the Jewish identity of the state, to defend terrorists in court, and to promote delegitimization against IDF soldiers,” Peleg said.

Israel has already taken several steps to minimize these organizations’ operations in the country, including banning the option of performing national service in organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments, and a requirement that they declare their sources of funding on every report they submit to the Knesset and in parliamentary discussions.