German political foundations write joint letter to Members of Knesset on NGO funding bills


November 20, 2011

To all Members of Knesset

Israel, November 20, 2011

Dear Member of Knesset,

As representatives of the political foundations from the Federal Republic of Germany in Israel, we wish to express our concern about a series of legislative initiatives that would fundamentally change the financial framework for the activities of Israeli non-governmental organizations, and thus civil society involvement overall.

The paramount objective of the German political foundations is to support and strengthen freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and pluralism in Germany and other countries. Our foundations play a role in political education, exchanges and mutual learning experiences between German society and its counterparts in all countries where they are active. They are involved in many different ways in a wide range of social, political, societal and cultural issues.

All the German political foundations have been represented in Israel for many years. Their goal is to achieve a close relationship of friendship between the two countries, in particular through cooperation with Israeli organizations and institutions. Even 66 years after the end of the Shoah, this relationship cannot be taken for granted. This is the reason why we consider it imperative that we cultivate and foster it, in light of the backdrop of German history, as well as our two countries' shared values and interests. In so doing our work is at all times based on the State of Israel's right to exist, its right of self-determination, its security and its innately democratic character.

Our activities and projects involve among other things political contacts with you as parliamentarians, as well as with members of the Israeli government. Primarily, however, they involve intensive and constructive cooperation with Israel's open and pluralistic civil society, characterized as it is by its impressive diversity and vibrant commitment. It is an important guarantor of the stability and vitality of Israeli democracy.

In the interest of the continuing and constructive development of German-Israeli ties, we therefore follow with concern a number of current legislative initiatives which could fundamentally restrict the work of civil society organizations and bodies, as well as our cooperation with them.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Ralf Hexel, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Marc Berthold, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung
Michael Mertes, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
Dr. Angelika Timm, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung
Dr. Hans-Georg Fleck, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit
Richard Asbeck, Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung

To download the letter as PDF please click here