SHATIL Lobbying Efforts Save NGOs Grief06 April 2011
SHATIL persuaded the government to drop major portions of a proposed law that would have seriously hampered the formation and activities of NGOs in Israel.
"There are good people who want to contribute to society, but the stringent limitations of the proposed law would have made it extremely difficult for them to function and would have caused them to think twice before forming an NGO," said SHATIL lobby consultant, Shlomit Asheri. "The law would have damaged citizens' right and freedom to form organizations to work together toward a common cause."
A blitz of telephone calls, arguments in Knesset Law Committee sessions and letters to influential lawmakers resulted in a law that makes NGOs, rather than the government, responsible for their own oversight.
Lawmakers also accepted SHATIL's suggestion that conflicts between the government and NGOs be resolved in court rather than by a government official, as the new law would have stipulated.
SHATIL's attorney, Ofir Katz, wrote in a letter to Knesset Law Committee Chair Menachem Ben Sasson, that the proposed law would have "resulted in a fundamental change in the relationship between the state and the third sector...and is based on the mistaken assumption that NGO officials are inherently corrupt."
Asheri added: "The goal was to influence the Knesset Law Committee and we looked for MKs who were familiar with NGOs and foundations and who understood what was at stake. They became our allies in the struggle against the government