Ministers advance bill said aimed at targeting left-wing activists

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

A proposed measure to limit Israeli organizations and individuals’ activities with foreign entities passes its first legislative hurdle today, after being approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

This first step makes the legislation a government bill, meaning it can pass quickly to a first reading.

The bill, an initiative of Likud MK and former Shin Bet director Avi Dichter, is an update to the penal code’s stance on contact with a foreign agent. Specifically, it proposes to expand the definition of agent, by swapping “foreign state” with a “foreign political entity,” as reported in Hebrew daily Israel Hayom.

This broader definition would restrict organizations’ collaboration with partners from the Palestinian Authority, the European Union, and other non-state political bodies. As such, the measure is presumed to be targeted against left-wing activists.

Right-wing activist organization Ad Kan, which had a hand in crafting the bill, tweeted that through the measure, it was “putting an end to anti-Zionism inside of Israel.”

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana brought the bill to the ministerial committee. Israel Hayom reports that Meretz’s Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg voted against the proposal, while the Labor party’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai abstained.

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