Report: Bill Targeting Foreign Funding for NGOs Off the Agenda

MK Ariel Kallner. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The government will not vote on a bill seeking to impose a 65% tax on foreign government donations to Israeli and Palestinian organizations in the wake of increased international criticism over the measure, Yisrael Hayom reported.

The decision to stall the proposed legislation comes amid criticism in Israel and abroad. The motion, proposed by Likud MK Ariel Kallner, stipulates that any non-governmental nonprofit engaging in public advocacy two years before or after receiving a donation from a foreign government will lose its status as a public institution; consequentially, it will no longer be eligible for tax exemptions and will be hit with a 65% income tax.

Introducing the bill in March, Kallner spoke of the “extent that delegitimization organizations operate within Israel and how foreign governments harm Israeli sovereignty” by bankrolling such organizations.

Yisrael Hayom reported that the decision to put the bill on hold comes in the wake of pressure from France, Sweden, Ireland and Germany, as well as opposition voices in Israel. Some of those countries are considered staunch supporters of Israel. The criticism has also been communicated directly from the Biden administration to the Prime Minister’s office, as well as from European foreign ministries to their Israeli counterparts. A diplomatic source said that the bill’s language will be reviewed, in what appears to be a nod to the detractors.

The supporters of the bill say it is designed to combat anti-Israeli activity and does not impact donations that serve humanitarian projects. But it appears that the current pause could be related to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s effort to avoid a clash with President Joe Biden ahead of a possible White House visit.

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