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“Nevertheless, while we understand the motivation behind Akunis’s and Kirschenbaum’s bills, restricting NGO funding is not the answer. Left-wing NGOs perform an important role in keeping the IDF and other institutions to their high moral standards. Using ideological criteria to determine which NGOs are eligible for donations or tax breaks, and which are not, curtails freedom of speech and is a slippery slope that could lead to politically motivated witch-hunts. Legislation sponsored by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and framed after the US’s Foreign Agents Registration Act was already passed back in February, making the Akunis and Kirschenbaum bills superfluous. Under the law, drafted in consultation with Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, all NGOs, regardless of their political leaning, must issue quarterly reports on their foreign government funding. Those which refrain from disclosure will be subject to a fine of nearly NIS 30,000. The sort of transparency promoted by Elkin’s bill has brought to light the fact that European governments spend more on left-wing NGOs operating in Israel – between $75 million and $100m. a year – than their total contributions to nonprofit human rights groups in other Middle East countries, according to NGO Monitor. We hope the Europeans will begin to realize that their money would be best put to use not in Israel, the region’s only true democracy, but in places such as Syria, Yemen, Egypt and elsewhere where human rights are regularly and egregiously trampled.”