Yair Lapid's Party Sides With Coalition, Backs Bill Limiting NGO Involvement in Election Campaigns

Yesh Atid will support the so-called 'V15 bill' which seeks to restrict NGOs' abilities to manage political campaigns during election season or carry out extensive ferrying of voters to polling stations.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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The Good Old Days: Lapid and Netanyahu during the previous government.
The Good Old Days: Lapid and Netanyahu during the previous government.Credit: Emil Salman
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party announced that it will support the coalition initiative to enact a law limiting the political involvement of nongovernmental organizations in election campaigns.

The bill, dubbed the "V15 bill," will significantly limit NGOs' abilities to manage political campaigns during election season or carry out extensive ferrying of voters to polling stations. It is set to be voted on by the Knesset in a first reading, the first of several votes necessary for passage, in coming days.

Proposed by MK Yoav Kish (Likud), the bill calls for political campaigns by NGOs to be subjected to the party funding law. Such a move would limit the amount the organizations could raise for campaigns, and would diminish their influence on the public agenda during election season.

The bill has been watered down in recent weeks, ahead of the vote, and according to Yesh Atid officials has garnered the support of party lawmaker Yael German, a member of the committee on the advancement of the bill.

The bill now states that NGOs would be subjected to the party funding law only if the cost of their activities in the three months prior to the elections exceeded 200,000 shekels. This is meant to enable the NGOs to support the spontaneous activities of small, local organizations during election season, but cap the large sums that reach widespread, cross-country campaigns such as the one carried out by the V15 organization to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the last election.

The bill, which at first was also opposed by the Yisrael Beiteinu party, is now expected to pass and significantly reduce both left- and right-wing campaigns.

MK Ofer Shelah confirmed his party's approval of the bill. "Yesh Atid doesn’t determine its stance according to the left and right's appearances game. We will not be dragged into Netanyahu's usual move, in which content and substance don’t matter, but rather the option of labeling someone, sowing discord and dividing."

"We will support MK Yoav Kish's political NGOs bill in its revised form, just as we will oppose the [bill that would legalize West Bank outposts] or any initiative aimed at harming the Supreme Court," he said.

Kish congratulated Yesh Atid, saying, "those in the opposition have also realized that we will not lend a hand to the purchasing of power with money. I congratulate MK Yair Lapid's support of the bill, and call on other opposition parties to support it. I will bring the bill to a first reading in the coming days."

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