In the stream of “reform” initiatives of the sixth government of Netanyahu, the wild bill “On taxation of donations from foreign states”, submitted by Likud MP Ariel Kelner, went unnoticed.
The Marker correspondent Meirav Arlozorov was the first to draw attention to this masterpiece of legislative thought and warned the Israelis about the consequences that Kelner’s bill would have if it were passed.
The Likud MP proposes to impose a 65% tax on all donations received by Israeli NGOs from foreign government organizations and deprive organizations that accept such contributions of the status of NPOs – that is, de facto depriving them not only of a source of income but also the ability to continue working.
The bill does not distinguish between friendly and enemy states, regarding any “foreign influence on the life of Israeli society” as deliberately hostile and directed against Israel.
Meirav Arlozorov informs the public that Israel holds the world record for foreign donations. Of the 18 billion shekels our NGOs receive, only 6 billion comes from domestic benefactors; the remaining 12 billion comes from abroad.
The share of foreign government organizations in this vast stream of donations is small, about 480 million shekels a year – of which the German government transfers 348 million to the Holocaust Survivors Relief Fund. According to the Likud bill, this fund will have to give the government two-thirds of its donations and will lose the status of a non-profit organization – that is, it will be forced to close.
Israeli universities and hospitals, cultural, sports, and even religious organizations receive millions from foreign governments – 152 Israeli NGOs. Among them are about forty human rights organizations that the Likud deputy wants to close down – these NGOs protect the rights of Palestinians, African refugees, and foreign workers. The ruling coalition cannot simply declare all human rights activists as enemy agents and put them in jail, as they do in Russia. Deputy Kelner invented a way to destroy them outwardly legally without thinking about “collateral losses.”
The legislative ban on receiving aid from the governments of the United States, Germany, Britain, Canada and other allies of Israel is an entirely scandalous initiative, even by the standards of the Likud. It is hoped that Kelner’s initiative will not be promoted, although Meirav Arlozorov believes that “in our days”, it has every chance of becoming law.