PM vows to pass 'democratic and necessary' NGO Transparency Law

Netanyahu questions criticism from those who 'usually support transparency'; Shaked blasts charge law is 'undemocratic' as 'irresponsible.'

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Cynthia Blank,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Marc Israel Sellem/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected on Monday criticism of government-backed legislation requiring greater transparency for NGOs funded by foreign governments. 

"Try to imagine a situation in which Israel would fund the separatist movements of the Basques or the Corsicans, or other places," Netanyahu declared at the Likud faction meeting. "There would be a terrible outrage."

Netanyahu argued the so-called Transparency Law is meant to generate greater transparency on the activities of foreign governments within Israeli democracy, adding that the bill "has been met with complaints from those who usually support transparency." 

"This bill is right, democratic and necessary, and this bill will pass," the Prime Minister stressed. 

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's bill would require Israelis NGOs who receive more than half of their funds from foreign states to disclose their sources of funding and identify themselves as "foreign agents" when lobbying MKs.

Much of the criticism centered on the bill is that it will only affect left-wing organizations, who receive funding from European countries and the US, as opposed to right-wing groups who are more likely to be funded by private donors.

US ambassador Dan Shapiro as well as EU ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen have met with Shaked to voice concerns. They, as well as envoys from individual European nations, have also attempted to meet with coalition MKs in a bid to derail the legislation. 

Shaked's bill has also faced the objection of opposition parties, with the Yesh Atid faction even going so far as to file a no-confidence motion based on the proposed legislation. 

The Justice Minister defended the bill against the criticism during a Knesset session Monday, blasting Yesh Atid's motion: "When you call this the 'left-wing NGO bill,' you are slandering the Left, as if the entire Left is acting in the name of foreign countries."

She also lashed out at Yesh Atid for labeling the bill anti-democratic, accusing the party of "irresponsibility" by saying "untrue" things and "caus[ing] damage in the world."








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