News & Media Articles

17 November 2010 E-Newsletter

17 November 2010 By New Israel Fund


A Sea of Blue T-Shirts

On the same day a couple of weeks ago, NIF supporters in Washington, DC and Tel Aviv participated in two enormous rallies.  On the one hand, the two events were very different:  In Washington, hundreds of thousands gathered for satirist John Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity.”  In Tel Aviv, the occasion was far more sombre:   the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.  At their core, though, both rallies were animated by a growing concern over the rising rhetoric of political extremism that increasingly characterizes the public conversation in both the US and Israel.   Here, it’s the Tea Party; there, it’s the Loyalty Oath and the Conversion Bill.  In both cases, extremism threatens the liberal democratic values we hold dear.

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Geologist Yossi Langotsky

Gov't Gas Revenues Could be Boosted by Billions of Dollars Following Civil Society Pressure

When the Israeli government was considering whether to raise the royalties on a newly discovered natural gas field in the Mediterranean, the issue quickly became controversial. On one side, the energy companies who discovered the “Tamar” field insisted on maintaining royalties at their current 12.5% rate – the lowest in the developed world. On the other side, a coalition of civil society social justice organizations, led by NIF/SHATIL, insisted that a fair rate of return to the public coffers from the huge find could go a long way towards alleviating poverty and income inequality in Israel.

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Yeshiva Students

NIF Forms Pluralist Forum to Oppose Special Benefits for Yeshiva Students

Thousands of Israeli students took to the streets this week in Tel Aviv following a similar demonstration earlier this month in Jerusalem, as the government remains determined to pass the Yeshiva Students Law. The proposed law will by-pass a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that held that special stipdents for married yeshiva student discriminate against secular college students, who are ineligible for the payments. 

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Segregated Bus

IRAC Report Exposes Growing Gender Segregation in Public Places

NIF grantee IRAC, the Reform movement’s Action Center, has published a comprehensive 50-page report entitled "Separation Between Men and Women in Public Places." The report analyzes the expansion of gender segregation over the past decade to encompass buses, government and municipal offices, health clinics, sidewalks and private businesses such as stores and restaurants. The report was presented to the Knesset last week.

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Leading Bedouin mayors laud women as agents of change

Israel's two leading Bedouin mayors last week expressed enthusiasm and support for the thoughtful social change plans of a group of young Bedouin women activists.

"I'm very impressed with your projects and I would like to see them implemented in Rahat," Faiz Abu Sahiban, mayor of Israel's largest Bedouin town and chair of the Forum of Bedouin Mayors in the Negev told a group of women graduating from the Shatil-Ma'an Bedouin Women's Rights and Leadership course.

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Two Israeli Firsts Contribute to Parenting and Literacy

In order to address the almost complete dearth of knowledge about learning disabilities in the Ethiopian Israeli community, Shatil recently initiated a series of six Amharic language radio programs as a first step in raising awareness and providing information for parents of Ethiopian origin. Two education professionals of Ethiopian origin conducted the shows in an accessible manner that spoke to Ethiopian immigrant parents, using metaphors and fables from nature and agriculture, an important part of Ethiopian communication and culture. 

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