After they finished passing the budget, the coalition is turning this week to a "right-wing legislative blitz," which will include a long list of laws.
However, the right-wing legislative blitz planned Sunday morning by the government and the Ministerial Committee on Legislation suffered a blow over the weekend. After the United States and European countries criticized the NGO Law initiated by Likud MK Ariel Kellner, a political source announced that the law would be removed from the agenda of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation until it is reexamined.
According to the law, which is intended to restrict the actions of various countries in internal intervention in Israel, an NGO that receives a donation from a foreign government will not be recognized as a non-profit organization. This is a direct hit to the income of that association, since it will have to pay 65% tax on every donation. In addition, its donors will not be able to enjoy a tax credit.
MK Ariel Kellner,
Over the weekend, however, several governments expressed their displeasure with the law to Israel, including France, Germany, Sweden, and Ireland, as well as ambassadors from other countries. Now the NGO Law may be delayed.
The pressure came from the United States directly to the Prime Minister's Office, while Britain and Germany exerted pressure on Foreign Minister Eli Cohen's office. Israel argued that the law should be improved in order to prevent donations to causes that harm the State of Israel, and not to harm humanitarian organizations for the benefit of the Palestinians. Netanyahu is trying to calm the situation vis-à-vis the Biden administration, and therefore rushed to remove the law from the agenda of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation instead of discussing it in the committee and refining it later, as has been done in other legislative initiatives.
One of the decisions in the legislative blitz is a decision by Otzma Yehudit, led by Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf, which states: "Zionism will be a decisive and leading value in government decisions."
Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf (archive), photo: Oren Ben Hakon
But here, too, there appears to be a delay, since the attorney general is expected to oppose the proposal. Deputy Attorney General Gil Limon had reservations about the proposal, arguing that it "grants Zionist values a status that supersedes other basic values, which have the same normative status from a constitutional point of view."
Limon added: "The values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state are binding on all government ministries, units and employees, and in any case there is no need to anchor them in a government decision. Therefore, the proposal is in fact declarative."
The decision was actually intended to allow the government to prioritize its decisions for military veterans, as well as values and actions such as Judaizing the Galilee. Opponents of the proposal argue that it has a dimension of discrimination against non-Jewish populations.
Moreover, Noam Party Chairman MK Avi Maoz will again be appointed deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and will receive approval for a budget for the Jewish Identity Authority of NIS 120 million in 2023 and NIS 165 million in 2024.
Palestinian flags at a student demonstration. Will the bill put an end to this?, Photo: Dudu Greenspan
Another bill that will be submitted tomorrow for approval by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation is that of MK Limor Sun Har Melech of Otzma Yehudit. According to the proposal, a student at an academic institution who waves a PLO flag or expresses support for an act of terrorism or armed struggle against Israel will be suspended for no less than 30 days, and if he does so again, he will be permanently expelled. The bill's explanatory notes also state that universities will close student cells that violate this law.
The bill caused an uproar in universities. The Committee of University Heads said: "We believe that this is a problematic and dangerous bill, and express hope that the Minister of Education and the Chairman of the Council for Higher Education will do everything in his power to block the advancement of the proposal in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and in the Knesset."
Tel Aviv University President Prof. Ariel Porat noted in a letter on the subject: "The Palestinian Authority is not an enemy state and is not a terrorist organization. Flying its flag is an act that falls under the protection of freedom of expression."
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