JERUSALEM (JTA) — A new bill being prepared would allow the Israeli government to close left-wing NGOS that are critical of the Israeli military or call for boycotts of Israel.
The bill is being prepared by Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin at the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
Levin reportedly started working on it about five months ago. The legislation is set to be reviewed by legal advisors and approved by Netanyahu in the coming weeks, for introduction during the Knesset’s winter session.
The bill would affect NGOs such as Breaking the Silence, which brings former army soldiers to schools and other venues both inside and outside of Israel to talk about alleged abuses of Palestinians under occupation.
Netanyahu on Sunday told a summit of Christian reporters in Jerusalem that he plans to create a parliamentary committee to investigate the funding NGOs receive from foreign governments.
The Knesset in July 2016 passed controversial legislation that requires nongovernmental organizations to publicly declare their foreign government funding.
Under the NGO transparency law, NGOs that receive more than half their support from “foreign political entities” – including foreign governments or state agencies — must declare that funding and detail it every time they put out a report and advocacy literature, or speak with a public official. Left-wing human rights organizations are disproportionately affected by the law.
The NGO law was opposed by the United States, and denounced by many European countries.