Nationalists Happy about NGO Limits; Will High Court Intervene?

MK Michael Ben-Ari: time "to cut off the oxygen supply" to "Trojan horses" that seek Israel's destruction.

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Gil Ronen,

Ronen Shoval
Ronen Shoval
Im Tirtzu

Nationalists smiled Sunday after the government took a step toward cutting off the ability of foreign governments to fund political NGOs within Israel. 

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said it was high time that the government took action "to cut off the oxygen supply" to ultra-leftist groups that act as "Trojan horses" within Israel. He specifically mentioned the New Israel Fund and its operative arm Shatil, as well as the Association for Civil Rights on Israel, which is funded by the NIF.

"I am aware of quite a few Knesset members who act in order to destroy Israel because they are funded or were funded by these organizations and have become their slaves," he told Arutz Sheva. "They are fighting to destroy the state of Israel. So this law is very necessary."  

I think there is no question of muzzling free speech here. We support a public discourse that is as wide as possible. But the public discourse needs to be authentic. We will not let foreign money buy the public discourse. It's unthinkable that money from foreign governments is used to demonize IDF soldiers in the public discourse. That must not stand.

Ronen Shoval, head of the grassroots student group Im Tirtzu that is a bitter foe of the NIF welcomed the decision too. "It is time to stop the foreign subversion of the state of Israel. Foreign countries must not be allowed to intervene in what happens in the State of Israel."

Minister Yossi Peled (Likud), who voted in favor of the bills, explained: "We try to look at ourselves as if we were like all other states, but we cannot do this because we live in a special situation that is not typical of any other country. If the organization 'Breaking the Silence' is funded from outside and persecutes IDF soldiers, we cannot accept that."

The bills have a good chance of passing in the Knesset after being approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. However, the Deputy Attorney General warned ministers Sunday that the High Court might strike down the laws as being "discriminatory."