Martin Shafer, spokesman for the ministry, said at a press briefing last Thursday that Israel, like Russia and China, “views funding by NGOs or civil initiatives by foreign donors as a hostile step”

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer addressed a briefing to journalists last Thursday on Israel’s policy on civil society organizations and nonprofit organizations. Schaefer criticized the policy, called it hostile and compared it to that of Russia and China.

“Israel, like Russia and China,” said he viewed the funding of NGOs or civil society initiatives by foreign donors as a “hostile step.” He referred to Israel casually, while discussing a law against foreign funding of associations and organizations he had passed through Hungary.

This is not the first time that senior German parliamentarians have expressed vehement criticism of Israel’s treatment of nonprofit organizations. Volker Beck, a member of the Bundestag and chairman of the Israel-Germany Friendship Association, sent a harsh letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the past, after passing the law obligating people from foreign-funded associations to go to the Knesset with a special badge. This move, his critics claim, is making it harder for left-wing organizations.

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