Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked of HaBayit HaYehudi scored a personal and electoral victory Nov. 1 when she released what she calls the "Transparency Law," a proposed piece of legislation intended to require Israeli nongovernmental organizations to reveal to the public whether they receive financial support from foreign states. Among the measures proposed to enforce this law is a requirement that representatives of these NGOs wear a special tag displaying the name of their organization when visiting the Knesset.
It was hardly by chance that Shaked chose to include the word “transparency” when coming up with a name for her new law. Borrowed from the social protest movement, the term has the positive connotation of orderly government among the public. In fact, it is little more than a cynical attempt to whitewash a law intended to further existing efforts to delegitimize left-wing NGOs — and the left in general — throughout Israel. Though the law makes no mention of the word “left” per se, it doesn’t have to. In Israel today, the situation is such that many left-wing NGOs that support finding ways to resolve the Palestinian issue receive funding from foreign governments, mainly from Western Europe and the United States. In contrast, right-wing NGOs usually tend to receive contributions from private individuals. These latter donations are not covered by the proposed law.