(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Knesset finalized a law Wednesday preventing foreign-funded organizations that operate against Israel from enjoying the benefits of Israel’s national service program. The bill passed in its second and third Knesset readings, with 40 lawmakers voting in favor of the measure and 12 opposing it.
Israel’s national civic service program provides an alternative framework for post-high school youths who, for various reasons, do not enlist in the IDF as part of the mandatory draft. The program coordinates volunteer positions in a wide range of areas so young Israelis can contribute in a way comparable to military service.
The bill, sponsored by Member of Knesset Amir Ohana (Likud) and endorsed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was presented following an October 2016 report in Israel Hayom that revealed how some anti-Israel groups, including some that support the BDS movement, were allotted national service slots.
The new law intends to ensure the state-sponsored national service will exclude organizations involved in the international political struggle against Israel through foreign funding.
“The absurdity by which the state of Israel provides manpower, through national service, to organizations and associations working against it in Israel and abroad—groups that encourage non-enlistment to the IDF and cooperate with BDS efforts—is over. Today this madness ends. National service must be pro-Israel,” Ohana said.