European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 12.07.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 12.07.2016

Major Headlines
  • NGO bill becomes law

Israel adopted a law on Monday that critics say targets Israeli rights groups critical of the right-wing government's policies and which supporters see as a blow against foreign interference in their country's affairs, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Called a "transparency bill" by its sponsor, far-right Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, it will require NGOs to give details of overseas donations if more than half their funding comes from foreign governments or bodies such as the European Union.

The United States and European Union have raised their concerns publicly and privately about the legislation, which passed its third and final reading in a sometimes stormy parliament session by a vote of 57-48.

Opponents of the law say it is discriminatory because it is mainly groups that oppose the policies of Israel's administration towards Palestinians which receive money from foreign governments and the EU.

"The NGO law ... is indicative, more than anything, of the budding fascism creeping into Israeli society," opposition leader Isaac Herzog of the centre-left Zionist Union party told reporters hours before the vote.

Private funds from overseas, such as money donated to Israeli organisations that support Jewish settlements on occupied land Palestinians seek for a state, were not addressed in the bill.

"It is a law whose only aim is to silence and mark those who dare to voice criticism of the government or against settlements," Israel's Peace Now group said in a statement.

The final version of the bill was watered down to remove a clause that would have required lobbyists for NGOS affected by the new rules to wear special name tags during visits to the legislature.

Netanyahu, in defending the bill as "democratic and necessary", has seemed to allude to foreign monetary support for Israeli groups backing Palestinian statehood.

Addressing members of his conservative Likud party earlier this year, Netanyahu drew parallels with Spain's Basque country where various separatist groups used peaceful or violent means to further their cause. "Try to imagine Israel funding Basque independence organisations," he said.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Lieberman blocks Israeli peace group from visiting Ramallah

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has blocked members of the Geneva Initiative from entering Ramallah because they planned to meet with senior Fatah official Mohammed al-Madani, whose permit to enter Israel was revoked by Lieberman last month, Ha’aretz reports.

Preparations for the meeting began two weeks ago, when the group members contacted the Israeli Defence Forces’ Central Command to confirm a meeting in Ramallah that had been scheduled for Tuesday. The Israeli delegation, which included initiative cofounder Yossi Beilin, three branch heads and members of the Likud Central Committee, planned to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Madani, who is chairman of the Palestinian committee for interaction with Israeli society.

The military, however, refused to let the visit proceed, saying the security situation did not allow for Israelis to enter Ramallah. The initiative representatives offered to reduce the number of people in the delegation or to get accompaniment from Abbas’ Presidential Guard, but the army’s response remained negative.

Sources in the defense minister’s office said it was the planned meeting with Madani that led to the Ramallah visit being nixed.

“This makes it clear who’s a partner here and who is not,” said Geneva Initiative Director General Gadi Baltiansky. “It is the government that prevents itself, and its citizens, from speaking to the person responsible for ties with Israeli society.”

Click here to read the full article in Haaretz


  • Israel outlaws Iran-backed Palestinian group

Israel announced on Monday it had outlawed a Palestinian group which acted as a front for Iran-directed terror activities targeting Israelis and the regime of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Times of Israel reports.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed the order outlawing Al-Hirak Al-Shababi (“The Youth Movement”) at the recommendation of the Shin Bet internal security agency, a ministry statement read.

The decision followed “significant information indicating that the group is directed by Hezbollah and Iran to carry out attacks against Israelis, and ignite a wave of violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem at Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” it read.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


Tuesday, July 12, 2016
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