Rotem Strikes Again; NGO Funding Bill Advances

from The Jerusalem Post:

Knesset Law Committee okays controversial NGO funding bill

After an emotional two-hour debate, the Knesset Law Committee on Monday approved a bill for first reading in the plenum calling for greater transparency on donations by foreign states and foreign state-funded institutions to Israeli NGOs.

The bill, which was initiated by a group of right-wing MKs headed by Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), was primarily aimed at human rights and political organizations such as Peace Now, which critics accuse of supporting the Palestinian cause and being anti-Israel.

Committee members including Elkin, Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) and Avraham Michaeli (Shas) said the bill would increase transparency by compelling NGOs to report all funding received from foreign state entities once every three months. Only Orbach admitted that the bill had been motivated by political considerations.

… During the hearing, committee chairman David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) appeared to drop a bombshell when he announced that he would change the bill’s wording in preparation for its second and third (final) readings so as to include all donations, whether from private individuals or foreign state entities, above a given sum.

“The bill will not pass a second and third reading unless it applies to all contributions,” Rotem said at one point in the debate, repeating the statement toward the end.