A new bill that would deprive foreign-funded left-wing organizations of tax-exempt status doesn’t go far enough, Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said on Monday.
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The bill, sponsored by his party colleague MK Ayelet Shaked, was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.
“I’d have gone farther; this masochism has to stop,” Bennett said. “This isn’t a law against left-wing organizations, but a law [against] anti-Israel organizations. I don’t see any connection between these extremist organizations and the Zionist left.”
As an example, Bennett cited the Arab advocacy organization Adalah, “which filed a legal opinion in a Spanish court explaining why seven senior Israeli officials are war criminals. This organization also accused the Israel Defense Forces of crimes against humanity and war crimes,” and was cited 38 times in the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009.
“This organization, which works against IDF soldiers day and night, which works to promote a boycott of the State of Israel, is being funded by taxpayers via tax breaks,” he said. “We aren’t willing to have them spit in our face with foreign funding and also receive tax breaks.
“In France, contact with a foreign country or organization to foment hostile activity against France carries a sentence of 30 years in prison and 450,000 euros,” Bennett continued. “All we’re saying is you won’t get tax benefits.”
He also quoted former Supreme Court Justice Meir Shamgar as saying, “Support for a political organization by a foreign government is something that should frighten anybody who believes in real democracy.”
Bennett said he doesn’t understand why Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnuah), Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Health Minister Yael German (Yesh Atid) voted against “a law that’s meant to protect IDF soldiers,” since “they are from the Zionist left.” He urged them to withdraw their opposition to the bill.