Knesset passes controversial ‘transparency’ law on NGO funding

The Knesset passed controversial legislation that requires nongovernmental organizations to publicly declare their foreign government funding.

The so-called NGO transparency bill, which was proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party, passed its second and third readings late Monday night after six hours of debate by a vote of 57-48.

Left-wing human rights organizations, which would be disproportionately affected, had slammed the measure. In a statement, Peace Now said it would challenge the law in Israel’s Supreme Court.


Under the law, NGOs that receive more than half their support from “foreign political entities” – including foreign governments or state agencies — must declare that funding and detail it every time they put out a report and advocacy literature, or speak with a public official.

An earlier draft would have required representatives of such groups to wear badges identifying themselves as lobbyists of foreign governments, but the provision was scrapped. However, the NGOs are required to inform the chair of a Knesset committee that they are on the list whenever they appear before the committee.

Nearly all the 27 Israeli organizations identified by the Justice Ministry as being affected by the new rules belong to the left wing, including B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Breaking the Silence.

Many right-wing NGOs are funded by private Jewish individuals in the United States and other countries — sources whose disclosure is not required under the new law.

In a statement, Peace Now said the law “is a blatant violation of freedom of expression.”

“Tailored specifically to target only peace and human rights organizations, its true intention is to divert the Israeli public discourse away from the occupation and to silence opposition to the government’s policies,” the group said. “While the law will delegitimize left-wing organizations, pro-settler NGOs who receive millions of dollars in foreign donations without any transparency will remain unaffected.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel also issued a statement saying the law “is intended to harm organizations that promote democracy and worldviews that differ from the views of the majority in the current coalition.”

It also said: “The law is but one of a series of bills and initiatives that oppose legitimate social and political action. Instead of facilitating debate, there are individuals who wish to silence criticism.”


George Allen Smith,
Philanthropist and Founder of George Smith Partners, Inc.,
Dies at 70

George Allen Smith, a leader in Southern California’s real estate finance industry, died Nov. 3 at 70. A graduate of the Harvard Business School, Smith, whose career in the industry spanned four decades, founded George Smith Partners Real Estate, a commercial mortgage brokerage firm, in 1992.

Smith and his wife, Pam, championed many institutions, including The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art. His chief philanthropic endeavor was the founding of the Ataxia Telangiectasia Research Foundation (A-TMRF), an organization devoted to funding research into a rare neurological disease affecting his daughter, Rebecca. Since its inception in 1984, the A-TMRF granted more than $10 million in research funding worldwide, including the endowment of the Rebecca Smith Chair in A-T Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“George approached every challenge with a level of confidence that was inspiring and contagious,” said Dr. Richard Gatti, who holds the Rebecca Smith Distinguished Professorship at UCLA.

To raise funds for the A-TMRF, Smith initiated the annual George Smith Partners Real Estate Luncheon, an event which now attracts more than 1,500 industry professionals. At this year’s event, Smith was presented with an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University.

Smith is survived by his wife, Pam; sons, James and Matthew; daughters, Jill Oaks and Rebecca; grandchildren, Samantha and Hannah; and sister, Eleanor (Gerald) Sorkin.

Donations can be made to the A-TMRF c/o Haskell and Davis, 16000 Ventura Blvd., Suite 806, Encino, CA 91436. — Nancy Sokoler Steiner, Contributing Writer

Samuel Baradaran died Oct. 12 at 65. He is survived by his daughter, Shaleen; and cousin, Michael Amin. Groman

ROUHOLLAH BARKHORDARIAN died Oct. 12 at 93. He is survived by his wife, Rose; six children; 16 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Annette Berman died Sept. 17 at 86. She is survived by her daughters, Jackie (Andy) Stern and Lynn; granddaughters, Traci Tannler and Molly (David) Schlussel; great-grandchildren, Zackary Tannler and Vivienne Schlussel; and brother, Sy (Lennet) Ogulnick. Mount Sinai

RAYMOND BLACKMAN died Oct. 11 at 81. He is survived by his brother, Al. Sholom Chapels.

HYMAN BARNETT BOOKMAN died Sept. 28 at 95. He is survived by his son, Jack; two grandchildren; and brother, Albert. Hillside

HARRY BRODSKY died Oct. 12 at 95. He is survived by his daughter, Iris (Mickey) Weiss; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Hillside

MELINDA EVELYN BRUN died Sept. 30 at 63. She is survived by her husband, William; daughter, Chandra; and nephew, Erik Laykin. Hillside

RAYE REENA CARLIN died Oct. 8 at 87. She is survived by her son, Martin (Caroline); daughter, Maxine; grandchildren, Laura and Mitchell; and great-grandson, Daniel. Hillside

SARAH GARFINKEL died Sept. 28 at 94. She is survived by her daughter, Sandy (Ron) Shenkman; and granddaughter, Stephanie Shenkman. Hillside

MARIAN LAURANS GETZOFF died Sept. 29 at 88. She is survived by sons, Peter and Stephen; daughter, Barbara Huff; daughter-in-law, Kay; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sister, Eleanor Feller; and brother, Raymond Laurans. Hillside

NANCY LYNN GOFF died Oct. 10 at 50. She is survived by her mother, Cecile; and sister, Julie (Dr. Ben) Simon. Sholom Chapels.

JANICE HAMLIN died Oct. 2 at 83. She is survived by her husband, Morris; sons, Richard (Delia) and Robert; and four grandchildren. Hillside

HYMIE HERSOWITZ died Oct. 11 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Eva; and son, Selwyn. Sholom Chapels.

Estrea Rozanes Kapuya-Berro died Oct. 12 at 93. She is survived by her son, Eliezer (Venus) Kapuya; and three grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Ralph Kaye died Oct. 11 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Helen; sons, Irv and Marc (Renée); daughter, Debbie; five grandchildren; and brothers, Eugene and Norman. Sholom Chapels.

BOB LEVY, JR. died Oct. 8 at 95. He is survived by his son, Bob. Hillside

CLARA LEWIN died Sept. 27 at 90. She is survived by her nephew, Gabor Szekeres. Hillside

Joyce Loraine Lynch died Oct. 10 at 67. She is survived by her daughters, Catherine and Michele. Malinow and Silverman

Leon Markus died Oct. 13 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte; sons, Jeffrey and Michael; daughter, Judith Knobel; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Groman

Karl Meyer died Oct. 11 at 81. He is survived by his children, Steven (Randi) and Michael (Heather). Mount Sinai

WILLIAM NEWMAN died Sept. 29 at 79. He is suvived by his wife, Sheila; son, Ian (Karen); daughters, Dana (Tim) and Mara (Paul); and six grandchildren. Hillside

Shoshana Noily died Oct. 13 at 97. She is sirvived by her sons, Josh and Samuel; daughters-in-law; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

MARVIN DAVID RATNER died Sept. 29 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Mildred; sons, Rabbi Robert (Susan) and Andrew (Kathi); brother, Stanley; eight grandchildren; and great-grandson, Yael. Hillside

BEATRICE PEARL RIEMER died Oct. 3 at 86. She is survived by her children, Rick, Ken and Terry; and four grandchildren. Hillside

Sylvia Ringelheim died Oct. 14 at 79. She is survived by her daughters, Sherrill Lewis and Arlene Parker; and one grandchild. Groman

MARLENE ROBINSON died Oct. 10 at 73. She is survived by her daughter, Marlene (Richard) Arnold. Sholom Chapels.

Morris Romerstein died Oct. 11 at 92. He is survived by his daughter, Anne (Charles) Grob; son, Samuel; and one grandchild. Malinow and Silverman

DOROTHY ROSENTHAL died Oct. 10 at 83. She is survived by her daughter, Michele (Sam); two granddaughters; brother, Bernie (Marcia); three nieces; and eight great-nieces and great-nephews.

Bernard Saffe died Oct. 13 at 81. He is survived by his son, Gary; daughters, Sari Garger and Rickie Louis; and three grandchildren. Groman

LORAINE ROSETTA SCHWARTZ died Oct. 11 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Carole Jablon; and granddaughters, Tess and Jordon Jablon. Hillside

MONETT SCHWARTZ died Oct. 3 at 83. She is survived by her son, Paul (Sheila); daughter, Susan (Steven) Bromberg; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Hillside

Martha Sego died Oct. 13 at 96. She is survived by her son, Peter; and one grandchild. Groman

Art Shaimes died Oct. 12 at 68. He is survived by his wife, Meredith; daughters, Cathy (Robert) Manzi and Lori (Rich) Hammer; son, Martin (Jeanette); and eight grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Elias Solz died Oct. 13 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Harriet; daughter, Heidi (Roger) Kerr; son, William (Susan) Solz; and four grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Esther Mazo Sosner died Oct. 14 at 97. She is survived by her sons, Bernard (Phyllis), Harold (Gail) and Howard (Elaine); seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and sister, Beatrice Cord. Mount Sinai

FREYDA PENNER SPATZ died Sept. 30 at 87. She is survived by her daughers, Julie DaVanzo (Frank), Barbara and Andrea (Bob Wunderlich); and four grandchildren. Hillside

Harry Weiner died Oct. 11 at 89. He is survived by his sons, Ken and Norm; daughter, Charlene Garcia; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Groman

CHARLOTTE MARIE COFFMAN WEISS died Sept. 28 at 88. She is survived by her sons sons, Rabbi Ken (Sue) and Dr. Mark (Marilyn); eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and sister, Mildred Foreman. Hillside

MORRIS WINKLER died Oct. 8 at 76. He is survived by his wife, Mitzi; and son, Jaime. Hillside