(JNS.org) The Israeli Knesset on Monday passed the controversial NGO Transparency Law, which requires organizations who receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments to publicly disclose that funding.
The law, sponsored by Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was passed in a 57-48 Knesset vote.
The Justice Ministry said that 25 of the 27 NGOs for which the new funding disclosure rule applies are considered to lean to the left politically. If the organizations fail to report all donations from foreign entities, they will be fined 29,200 shekels ($7,500).
The European Union (EU) on Tuesday criticized Israel's NGO Transparency Law, saying the measure goes "beyond the legitimate need for transparency."
"Israel enjoys a vibrant democracy, freedom of speech and a diverse civil society which are an integral part of the values which Israel and the EU both hold dear. This new legislation risks undermining these values," the EU spokesman's office said in a statement, adding, "We call upon Israel to continue to promote its active NGO sector and to refrain from actions which may complicate the space in which civil society organizations operate and which may curtail freedom of expression and association."