Combating Violence and Advancing Arab Women06 April 2011Share |
Combating Violence and Advancing Arab Women
Aida Touma-Suliman of Women Against Violence
Aida Touma-Suliman, an Arab citizen of Israel, is the sixth of seven girls, born in 1964 to a Palestinian Christian Family from Nazareth. For Aida, every day is a battle – a battle against all odds, a battle for the Arab woman, her body and her protection. Aida has succeeded in placing what was taboo in Arab society on the public agenda – the issue of sexual, physical and emotional violence against women. In her struggle against this phenomenon within Arab society in Israel, she has brought about meaningful change.
In 1992, The New Israel Fund helped Aida establish Women Against Violence (WAV), which created the first domestic violence shelters for Arab women in the world. And In 1993 Aida co-founded Al-Badeel, Coalition to combat "honor killings” crimes. Her work became an international paradigm for other societies addressing this problem. Together with her tireless work on behalf of women, Aida has also worked to promote peace and dialogue throughout her career.
From the beginning, Aida and her peers were caught between a rock and a hard place as “double minorities” – Arabs and women. “The fact that we are part of the Palestinian people also makes it difficult for us, because whenever we, as women, want to talk about our problems, the public discourse is, ‘It's not time to deal with these issues. We have more important things.’… We are accused of airing our dirty laundry, and our critics say ‘this can be used by the West or by [Israeli mainstream society] against us.’” But Aida decided that the safety and security of women could not wait until the rest of the challenges her community faces would be addressed.
Based in Nazareth, WAV has developed into one of the leading Arab women's organizations in the country. It was the first organization to establish shelters and rape crisis centers for Arab women, and initially focused on violence against women. Recognizing the need to address the roots of the challenges facing Arab Israeli women, it has broadened its focus to include promoting women's involvement in public and political power centers and the employment of university educated women, while raising awareness of women's unconditional right to employment in the Arab sector.
Women's Initiatives06 April 2011
Please click here to read more about the New Israel Fund’s work supporting women in Israel.
For a selection of NIF’s Women’s Fund grantees, see below:
Women's Voices06 April 2011
What are the contributions women are making to the democratic process? How do democracies include women’s voices?
We invite you to join us for a conversation with Rachel Liel, the Israel Executive Director of the New Israel Fund, and Susan Berresford, former President of the Ford Foundation, as we explore these questions, hear your voices, and reflect on the role of women in democracies and social change today.
The event will be moderated by Abigail Pogrebin.
The minimum gift for this event is $1,000 per person.
The event will be hosted at a donor’s private home in Greenwich Village. Please click here to RSVP and for details. Thanks to the generosity of our hosts, your gift is tax-deductible in its entirety.
Paula J. Rackoff and Debra L. W. Cohn
Host Committee (in formation)
Rabbi Rachel Cowan
Phyllis Teicher Goldman
Janet Heettner and Peter J. Silverman
Michael Hirschhorn and Jimena Martinez
Betsy Miller Landis
Bryna Linett and Peter Shapiro
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn
Rabbi Felicia Sol
Nancy Schwartz Sternoff
To join the Host Committee for the event,
please click here.
Featured Videos - Guardian of Democracy Dinner 201308 November 2013
Gallanter Prize winners, activists Safa Younes & Rotem Ilan, and Keynote Ethan Bronner of the The New York Times.
Pre-Event Breakfast06 April 2011
Please join us for an informal breakfast with NIF’s President Naomi Chazan on Friday, October 8th at 8:00 am at a private home in Manhattan. Professor Chazan will discuss the significant contributions that women are making to the democratic process in Israel today. As an outspoken leader in the struggle for women's rights, civil rights, religious freedom, and peace in Israel, Professor Chazan is best known for her ten years in the Knesset as one of the Meretz Party's most effective legislators, and for her service as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. The breakfast, which is free of charge, is an opportunity to hear about the important role that women are playing in shaping civil society in Israel.
The breakfast with Naomi Chazan will lead up to NIF’s November 8th fundraiser, Women’s Voices, Democracy’s Choices. After Naomi Chazan speaks, we will take a few minutes to tell you about this event and how you can get involved in this meaningful effort. In the meantime, please consider joining the Host Committee for the event.
Kindly confirm your attendance at the breakfast by sending an email to by Friday, October 1st (exact address for the breakfast will be sent out once you RSVP) or by calling 212-613-4403.
Mobilizing for Progressive Change: Boston Gala27 March 2014
Celebrate NIF's work and help nurture a vibrant and democratic Israel. May 13 is your chance to gather with established leaders and young activists working to promote religious pluralism, tolerance, equality and justice for all Israelis.