Amnesty International gets limited tax benefits

New amendment may prevent anti-Israel organizations from receiving tax benefits after Amnesty International granted benefits for one year.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

MK Bezalel Smotrich
MK Bezalel Smotrich
Yoni Kempinski

A heated discussion took place in the Knesset Finance Committee today over the non-profit organizations which seek to obtain the approval of the committee to be eligible for tax credits under Section 46 of the Income Tax Ordinance.

Under Section 46 Israelis receive a 35% tax credit for donating to approved Israeli charities.

The arguments were mostly about the request of a single organization, Amnesty International, to receive this approval. Members of the committee from the Likud and Jewish Home parties objected to granting Amnesty this status.

It was eventually agreed upon for Amnesty's request to receive approval to be granted, but the approval will be limited to just one year.

As the decision was being made, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) introduced an amendment to the income tax code which would stipulate that only non-profits which work for the benefit of the citizens of Israel and not against the State of Israel would be eligible for having donations to them be tax deductible. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked backed Smotrich's amendment.

Smotrich stated that the amendment would "restore sanity to the State of Israel. The state will not fund organizations which work against it. Today we not only limited the (tax) benefit Amnesty will receive for its work against the State of Israel around the world. We also agreed to put an end to this absurd situation in which anti-Zionist NGOs working against the state impudently demand tax benefits."

"Israeli democracy can tolerate organizations of all kinds, but that does not mean that it should encourage and support organizations which work against it." Smotrich added.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said "The State of Israel will not turn the other cheek. We must put an end to this phenomenon of organizations receiving tax benefits for donations from the civilians they are working against. We see a perfect example in the activities B'Tselem, which stood hand in hand with the enemies of the State at the UN Security Council."

The amendment receive opposition from the left. MK Elad Wolf (Meretz) said that the push to reduce the benefits to Amnesty was "delusional" and would only harm Israel's image in the rest of the world.

"Israel's government has lost it completely." he said. "They are allowing themselves to trample the future of the State of Israel. Human rights organizations such as B'Tselem and Amnesty International are here to stay, and we will act to protect them, human rights, and democracy."