Netanyahu Turns Focus on U.S. After Clearing Domestic Hurdles

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu leads the weekly Cabinet meeting in Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has shifted his efforts abroad, with a specific emphasis on the U.S., Yisrael Hayom reported.

This has seen him shelve controversial legislation targeting NGOs operating in Israel, something that is not an important focus for his government.

He continues with his goals of forwarding the Abraham Accords in order to bring Saudi Arabia on board, and his focus will likely be on Iran. Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, who is considered Netanyahu’s liaison vis-à-vis the Biden administration, and National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi are expected to go on another diplomatic trip to the United States, the agenda being the Iran nuclear program. Netanyahu has still to be invited to Washington.

In recent weeks, on Dermer’s recommendation and after pressure from the White House, Netanyahu took Likud MK Ariel Kallner’s NGO tax bill, which proposed that foreign government contributions to nonprofits be taxed at 65%, off the table.

The issue has been discussed extensively in recent days, but behind the scenes, it was frozen the same way as another law from the Likud meant to confiscate terror funds from the Palestinian Authority.
The bill was proposed by MK Amit Halevi and is meant to confiscate terror funds instead of freezing them. In the meantime, the law is not being promoted for similar reasons. Washington expressed dislike of the wording of the proposal, and Netanyahu put it on hold to reduce unnecessary friction.

Officials stressed that despite the disagreements, the ties between Yerushalayim and Washington remain “close.”

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