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Registering a foreign NGO in Israel

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

Stuart Safft

I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.

Whether promoting US-Israel cooperation, helping Israeli-Arabs andor Palestinians, or engaging in politically neutral work, many international non-profit organizations want to establish a branch in the Holy Land. American, European and other foreign organizations work in Israel on a wide variety of local and international causes. Legally operating as a foreign NGO in Israel requires proper registration with the Registrar of Amutot and filing yearly reports.
Our law office specializes in Israeli non-profit law. From first registering your organization, through establishing bylaws and resolving potential conflicts, CDPB is at your service. In this article, advocate Joshua Pex will explain the process of registering a foreign non-profit organization in Israel.

Options for opening a foreign NGO in Israel.

foreign NGO in IsraelThere are two primary paths to registering your NGO in Israel:
  • The first possibility involves opening a new non-profit organization (“Amutah“) in Israel, and conducting any activity via said NGO. The rules on registering a new Amutah are very flexible, though financial turnover and donations from abroad have to be scruplously reported.
  • You can also register a  foreign company for the benefit of the public in Israel, for any current NGO interested in operating in Israel under its own name and or brand.
Registration of a new Amutah in Israel should not take more than 10 hours, if you choose the standard bylaws and both the founding members are in Israel. The process of registration of a foreign company in Israel sometimes may take longer and depends on the Registrar’s requirements.

Information and documents needed to register a foreign NGO in Israel:

  1. The list of the directors in the foreign company and photocopy of their IDs / passports.
  2. List of the shareholders in the foreign company and photocopy of their IDs / passports (for many smaller NGOs, this is identical to the list of directors).
  3. List of members of the Company’s Audit Committee and photocopy of their IDs / passports.
    ַָׂ(Please note that if the company does not have shareholders or directors or an audit committee, we will need a legal opinion, by an lawyer from the NGO’s country of origin, stating the local law does not require that).
  4. We may be able to obtain such an opinion for you, which should cost about NIS 3,000 + VAT (the exact price depends on the information required in the opinion).
  5. The government fee for opening a foreign company for the public benefit in Israel is 761 NIS (as of 2021).

Also, we will need the following documents in original and signed with an apostille stamp.

  • Certificate of Incorporation.
  • The bylaws.
  • Certificate of good standing – indicating that the foreign company is active.
  • A decision of the General Assembly of the Foreign Company to open the Company in Israel. This document must state the name of our firm as licensed to act on behalf of the company in Israel and receive messages for the company.
  • Details of the company’s assets, including finances. If the company does not own assets, you must explicitly state this in the foreign company official document.

The above documents have to be translated into Hebrew and signed by a notary to confirm the translation.

Please note that once the application is submitted, the Registrar of Companies may require additional information of documents.

Opening an Amutah bank account

A bank account for an NGO, particularly if the founders are from abroad, is more complex than you may imagine. Particularly for an American non-profit organization in Israel, the relevant paperwork may prove daunting, as local banks prefer not to deal with FATCA reporting. We also offer help in establishing a dedicated bank account specific to the needs of your organization.

Contact non-profit law experts

Our offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are at your service. If you have any queries or issues regarding Israeli non-profit law, contact us for advice or to schedule an appointment:

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