By Gil Ronen, INN
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted Sunday to support a bill limiting the funding that political non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may receive from foreign governments and international bodies to 20,000 shekels per year. The bill was authored by MK Ofir Akunis (Likud).
The Committee also voted in favor of a bill submitted by MK Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beitenu) that would deprive NGOs that rely on foreign funding of tax exempt status and levy a 45% tax on foreign donations.
Bills that receive the Committee’s approval are considered to be relatively certain of passing in the Knesset.
The ministers supporting the bills included Limor Livnat, Gilad Erdan, Yossi Peled, Gidon Sa’ar and Moshe Cachlon (Likud), Yitzchak Aharonovich, Sofa Landver, Yuli Edlestein and Stes Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beitenu) and Daniel Hershkovitz (Jewish Home).
Ministers Benny Begin, Michael Eitan, Dan Meridor (Likud) opposed the bills, as did ministers Shalom Simchon and Orit Noked (Independence).
Begin, Eitan and Meridor filed immediate appeals against the decisions in order to force a debate in the Cabinet.
The leftist camp in Israel is extremely upset by the bills, which would deprive it of much of its prowess. Proponents of the bills note that the American Foreign Agent Act provides similar protection against foreign meddling in US affairs. Opponents say the bills are anti-democratic and stifle free speech.