Ayelet Shaked Defends Her 'Transparency Bill' in U.S. Jewish Media

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Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the top of the stairs, holding her cellphone and walking past two people who are embracing on her way to the weekly cabinet meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 1, 2015.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked walking toward the weekly cabinet meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 1, 2015.Credit: Emil Salman

A day after being blasted by The Washington Post for the so-called Transparency Bill, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked penned an opinion article saying it "seeks to create transparency and clarity." 

The op-ed was published Tuesday in the Jewish Telegraph Agency, a news wire service for Jewish and Israeli publications, under the headline, "NGO law protects Israel from existential threats."

The contentious bill would require non-profits receiving more than half of their funding from foreign governments to wear an identifying tag when in the Knesset, and note it in their official publications. In practice, the legislation would affect left-wing organizations almost exclusively.

In her op-ed, Shaked begins by quoting celebrated American poet Robert Frost's "Mending Wall," in which he writes "good fences make good neighbors." Frost wrote the poem, Shaked notes, during World War I, when the general consensus was that clearly demarcated borders between nations way the best way to "to safeguard international relations."

Two decades later, the United States enacted the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which, as Shaked defines, "requires non-diplomats representing foreign interests to register with the U.S. Department of Justice." She then attempts to equate her law with the U.S. one, and goes so far as to assert that the requirements her bill stipulates are "much less stringent than those imposed by the United States upon similar types of activity."

From there, she describes Israel's "unending struggle for survival" against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movment as well as anti-Semitism.

Shaked wrote that her critics' claims are "exaggerated," and exist as part of the "same foolish attempt to besmirch Israel’s name."

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