|Written by Ruby Ong|
8 September 2011
Story of Hope and Inspiration
For the past several months, you’ve been hearing a lot from us about the social protest movement that has swept over Israel. Just this past Saturday, 450,000 Israelis took to the streets, chanting for social justice, demonstrating for a better, fairer Israel; the Israel that we at NIF so passionately believe in. Not only is this the biggest “domestic” story out of Israel in a generation, it is a story of hope and inspiration. It is also a validation of NIF’s fundamental strategy of incubating and supporting social change organizations and activists who then go out and build a better Israel. And we, the NIF family, are standing with the social justice activists. Thousands of you signed our petition of support for the protests, which was printed in the Israeli edition of the International Herald Tribune. And with your support, NIF has been able to help activists on the periphery of the country join the movement.
It’s true, the news out of Israel can be dizzying these days. On the one hand, powerful right-wing forces are still pushing a raft of legislation aimed at curbing freedom of expression, creating a new and disturbingly harsh definition of who is a Jew, and de-democratizing Israel’s liberal society. And NIF is leading the fight to push back. On the other, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have stood up to paint a picture of a different kind of future. And all of this against a backdrop of increasing international uncertainty. These are truly extraordinary times. But they are times that the New Israel Fund was born for. And how better to delve deeper into and learn more about the issues shaping and reshaping Israeli society than through a conversation with one of Israel’s leading social change agents and public intellectuals, NIF’s Board President Professor Naomi Chazan? In a few hours, Naomi and I will sit down for a live video chat to discuss the social protests and their impact on Israeli society. I’ll ask Naomi some of the questions NIF supporters have sent in over the past few days, and I’ll throw in a few of my own. Please join us.