Ofir Akunis has some new friends. Akunis, a Likud minister and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, is best known for sponsoring legislation to ban select Israeli NGOs from receiving foreign-government donations of more than 20,000 shekels (roughly $5,000). Defending the bill in a Israel Hayom op-ed against criticism that it is illiberal, he called it necessary to preserve Israel’s sovereignty, and wrote, “I do not know of any country in the world that tolerates external interference in its domestic affairs.”
I’m sure he’ll be pleased to hear that Cairo agrees. The Egyptian Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs recently released a draft of new legislation on Egyptian NGO’s, and it looks like they don’t brook any foreign interference either. Like Akunis’s bill, the Egyptian law would restrict foreign contributions; the law comes on the heels of Egypt’s denying licenses to eight U.S. based NGOs, for reasons of “national sovereignty.” (The eight include the Carter Center, named after former president Jimmy Carter, so it looks like Akunis and Egypt’s custodial government even share an enemy.)
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