ACRI: New bill to limit NGO funding undermines freedom of expression and democracy


In response to a proposal by MK Ayelet Shaked (Knesset faction chair of the Jewish Home party) that would limit foreign donations to non-profit organizations and NGOs, Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo, Director of Policy Advocacy at ACRI said:

“Following the flood of anti-democratic legislation that we witnessed in the last Knesset, including a version of this bill, the then government apparently realized that such awful bills were causing severe harm to Israel. As a result, after fierce criticism and public pressure, the government indeed halted their progress. I sincerely hope that ministers in the current government are wise enough to block this bill; a bill that severely undermines freedom of expression and democracy in Israel, and whose main aim is to silence those who disagree with MK Shaked. ”

An unofficial translation of the proposal – which seeks to amend the 1980 law governing “Amutot” (non-profit organizations) is available below:


The 19th Knesset

Draft Bill by Knesset Members


The Amutot (Non-Profit Organizations) Law
Amendment: Support of NGOs in Israel by Foreign Political Entities – 2013


Amendment to Section 36A – The Amutot (Non-Profit Organizations) Law 1980

(1) Following subsection (a) will be added:

“(1A) – No non-profit organization will receive a donation of more than NIS 20,000 per year from a foreign state entity, if the goals or conduct of the non-profit organization, or conduct of any member, employee or member of the board of the non-profit organization expressly or implicitly supports one of the following positions:

(a)  Calling for the prosecution of IDF soldiers in an international court;

(b) Calling for boycotts, divestment or sanctions against the State of Israel or its citizens;

(c)  Denying the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;

(d) Incitement to racism;

(e)  Supporting the armed struggle of an enemy state or a terrorist organization against the State of Israel.”

In this section, “foreign state entity” – will be defined as per section 36A of the Amutot (Non-Profit Organizations) Law 1980.

Explanation of the Bill

This bill seeks to limit the involvement of foreign state entities in Israel’s democracy, which comes about through financial support of non-profit organizations, whose goals – or their actual activities – go well beyond the realm of the democratic discourse in Israel and amount to an attempt to seriously damage and significantly interfere in the basic characteristics of the State of Israel and its sovereignty.

The bill proposes that no non-profit organization will be able to receive donations above NIS 20,000 from a foreign state entity if the goals or conduct of the non-profit organization, or conduct of any member, employee or member of the board of the organization expressly or implicitly support one of the five positions outlined above in Section 1 (1A)

In order to prevent an organization from de facto operating in one of the areas prohibited by the law through independent activities of one its members, this bill proposes that the law be applied also in cases where members of the organization, employees or board members are active in the areas listed .


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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Freedom of Expression

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