Israel approves contentious NGO foreign funding law

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JERUSALEM: The Israeli parliament finalized a controversial law compelling NGOs that receive most of their funding from foreign state entities to declare it in official reports, a Knesset spokesman said early Tuesday. The law, seen by critics as targeting leftist groups that campaign for Palestinian rights, was passed in a 57-48 vote following a lengthy debate. “The law wishes to deal with the phenomenon of NGOs which represent foreign interests of foreign states, while acting under the cover of local organizations seeking to serve the interests of the Israeli public,” its introduction read. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the law’s goal was “to prevent an absurd situation, in which foreign states meddle in Israel’s internal affairs by funding NGOs, without the Israeli public being aware of it.” “Unlike the left’s claims, the law’s approval will increase transparency, contribute to creating a discourse that reflects the Israeli public opinion, and will strengthen democracy,” he wrote on his Facebook page following the final vote. The law will compel the relevant groups to report their main source of income to the NGO registrar, publish it on their website and state it in relevant publications.

AFP

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