Keep Calm and Pray On14 March 2013
14 March 2013
"Keep Calm and Pray On." That was the motto this week as NIF-grantee Women of the Wall ushered in the Hebrew month of Nissan at the Western Wall with hundreds of supporters. Tamar Zandberg, Michal Rozin and Stav Shaffir, three newly elected members of Knesset, were right in front, leading the way for the entire group. Their presence helped keep the police at bay and, unlike in past months, no arrests occurred. The leadership displayed by these MKs was a true embodiment of the spirit of International Women's Day, celebrated just last week.
And while that was happening in Jerusalem, 400 people gathered (“in the rain!” one of our staffers told me) at a solidarity event in New York, which was co-sponsored by NIF. 200 more gathered an event outside of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. This is a model of the spirit of the new Israeli-American partnership NIF and our allies are forging, one that recognizes that our struggles and our causes are connected. Activists in Israel know that their sisters and brothers in America have their back.
The momentum displayed at these events is part of what I hope is a new trend in progress for the rights of women in Israel. The 19th Knesset has an unprecedented number of women, and many of them are courageous champions of our values. As is the custom in Israel, new members of the Knesset give speeches. Some of the speeches were terrific (check out Ruth Calderon's Talmud lesson, now something of an internet sensation), but one in particular blew me away. New Labor MK Merav Michaeli talked about her vision for Israel, and how vital it is for those who have power to stand up for those who don't. After the past three-plus years we've spent fighting scores of antidemocratic bills coming out of that very chamber, it was a beautiful thing to hear those words from the rostrum of the Knesset:
Although our work is far from over, there has been significant progress in fighting for women’s rights. Our grantees are doing critical work, and not just on International Women’s Day. The new members of Knesset, coupled with the events of the past week, leave me feeling that maybe – just maybe - the tide on women’s rights in Israel is beginning to turn.
Leonard "Leibel" Fein, z"l15 August 2014
It is with deep sadness that I write to tell you that Leibel Fein – former NIF Board member, IC member, and champion of the Israel we believe in – died early this morning. A great light has gone out.
Letter from Yeruham Mayor11 July 2014
Today NIF received the following letter from Yeruham Mayor Michael Bitton. While his city is living under threat of rocket attack, he has found that the citizens are coming together to pitch in and help each other get through this crisis. He credits the Volunteer Center that NIF helped establish in his city for this spirit of solidarity.
Looking behind the curtain of ultra-nationalist zealotry15 July 2013
The bill seeking to defund NGOs that dare criticize Israeli policies has undergone a cunning transformation designed to mask its radically ultra-nationalist agenda; but don't be fooled, it is still a betrayal of Israel's founding principles.
Meet 7 Chanukah Heroes Fighting for Inclusion and Shared Society in Israel18 December 2014
More and more Israelis are saying NO to racist violence, hatred, and exclusion. Meet just a small sample of the amazing people, businesses, and groups working towards an inclusive and shared Israel.
Meeting Points14 November 2014
If I didn’t know better, I would have thought we’d all signed up for a culinary tour of Israel. We started out last week in the Mahane Yehuda market cheese tasting and went into Shabbat fortified with olive oil, wine and chocolate. But as New Israel Fund has deftly managed our study tour, our food forays were as much metaphors as they were realities.
Men and women together at the Kotel 196709 October 2013
By Andrew Kaplan, October 2013
I'm an American who served with the Israel Defense Force in the Golan Heights during the Six Day War. A few days after the war ended, I was in East Jerusalem, which at that time was still under martial law. I immediately went to the Western Wall, which of course, we Jews had not been able to go to since 1948. At that time, there was no big plaza like today. Only a narrow street. It was jammed with soldiers and people, men and women, boys and girls together, praying, singing, so happy together. That's right, men and women praying together at the Western Wall and you know what? It didn't fall down. I enclose a photo I took at the time to prove it.
Message from Daniel Sokatch06 April 2011
Last week, we at New Israel Fund thought long and hard about the now-infamous flotilla action. Israel is in for hard times in the coming months and years. We all recognize frightening trends in Israel that threaten its future as a country that, as its founders' envisioned, is dedicated to being both Jewish and democratic. But that is a vision worth fighting for. Stay with us, and we'll stay with you. And, as always, thank you for your support.