Knesset Passes Bill to Make Israeli NGOs Report Foreign Contributors

The bill, sponsored by coalition whip Zeev Elkin, was submitted before Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud moved to establish Knesset panels to probe human-rights groups.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Knesset on Monday gave final approval to a controversial bill that requires nonprofit organizations to report which foreign entities contribute to them, whether governmental or government supported. Nonprofit groups will also have to state whether their donors require them to adopt specified policies.

The bill also requires nonprofit organizations to say which foreign governments and foundations contributed to their advertising campaigns - on the campaign ads themselves.

Likud MK Zeev Elkin, one of the sponsors of the new legislative initiatives.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The bill, sponsored by coalition whip Zeev Elkin, was submitted before Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud moved to establish Knesset panels to probe human-rights groups.

The bill approved by the Knesset on second and third readings is more moderate than the version drafted by its sponsors and MK Isaac Herzog (Labor), when he was social affairs minister. Herzog had obtained the consent of various organizations, including the New Israel Fund, to a draft requiring them to disclose their contributors and any agreements made in exchange for the contributions.

Despite the agreement with Herzog, Labor's MKs, who recently withdrew from the coalition, voted against the bill.

The chairman of Meretz's parliamentary faction chairman, MK Haim Oron, criticized the government for becoming "increasingly McCarthyist. Today we have received the weekly lesson in what is not a democracy. Why is money from the Netherlands' government, by definition, dangerous, but money from a radical evangelist organization is permitted?"

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