JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres called on the Knesset to reject proposed legislation that establishes a committee to investigate the funding of left-leaning human rights groups.
By a vote of 47-16, the Knesset earlier this month gave preliminary passage to the measure. The parliamentary panel would probe the funding and activities of left-wing and human rights organizations and NGOs.
"The investigation of organizations and foundations, whether from the left or right, must be left to law enforcement authorities," Peres said in a statement Monday. "They possess expertise, are objective and hold the appropriate investigative tools. The establishment of such a parliamentary investigative committee harms Israeli democracy and is unnecessary."
Peres quoted Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who said that politicians should not be judges and judges should not be politicians.
Peres in an address to the Knesset next week is expected to raise this issue, as well as the subjects of racism and incitement by fundamentalist rabbis, The Jerusalem Post reported, citing the president’s spokeswoman.