PM Reportedly to Back Down on Key Law to Satisfy Herzog

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, shown here leading the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Emil Salman/POOL)
Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Emil Salman/POOL)

In what may be a great leap forward that could pave the way for a unity government, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to drop government support for the “Nonprofits Law,” legislation proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that would require nongovernmental organizations to provide full details on the sources of their income. The bill is opposed by leftist NGOs such as “Breaking the Silence” and B’Tselem, both of which reportedly derive large amounts of their budgets from foreign NGOs and governments.

The government had supported the bill, and it was likely to have passed into law, as it is also supported by nongovernment MKs, including all of Yisrael Beytenu and some MKs from Yesh Atid. The bill has been denounced by Zionist Camp and Meretz as being “antidemocratic.”

According to the NRG news site, the decision by Netanyahu to give up support for the bill came during a long day of negotiations between coalition and Zionist Camp negotiators attempting to make a deal that, despite other media reports, appears to be something both sides are very interested in.

If Herzog could not be rid of Shaked altogether, then shooting down what could have been her most important piece of legislation may be sufficient, Likud sources told NRG. Reports Monday night said that Herzog had met secretly with Netanyahu. The report in Haaretz said that Herzog had asked to be given the Justice or Communications ministries, along with several other jobs for MKs he would bring in with him. The meeting ended inconclusively.

A source in the coalition said that Netanyahu had not offered him those senior portfolios, but several lesser ones. “The Justice Ministry is run by Ayelet Shaked, and she especially is a ‘red flag’ for the left, and just removing her from that job will be seen as a victory in Labor,” the source told the newspaper. “I do not get the impression that Netanyahu is planning to back down on this and replace her.” A statement by Herzog’s office called the report “erroneous.”