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July 12, 2016 9:58 am

Israel Passes Contentious NGO Law Criticized for Targeting Human Rights, Left-Wing Groups

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The Israeli Knesset. Photo: Wiki Commons.

The Israeli Knesset. Photo: Wiki Commons.

JNS.org – The Israeli Knesset on Monday passed the controversial NGO Transparency Law requiring organizations who receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments to publicly report it.

The bill, sponsored by Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was passed with 57 to 48 votes.

The Justice Ministry said that 25 of the 27 NGOs to which this rule applies are considered to lean left politically. If the organizations fail to 1report all donations from foreign entities, they will be fined 29,200 Israeli Shekels ($7,500).

The European Union on Tuesday criticized the NGO Transparency Law, saying the bill goes “beyond the legitimate need for transparency.”

“Israel enjoys a vibrant democracy, freedom of speech and a diverse civil society which are an integral part of the values which Israel and the EU both hold dear. This new legislation risks undermining these values,” the EU spokesman’s office said in a statement.

“We call upon Israel to continue to promote its active NGO sector and to refrain from actions which may complicate the space in which civil society organizations operate and which may curtail freedom of expression and association.”

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