Mainstreaming Accountability & Fact-Checking
Less than two years after its founding, The Whistle, the only organization fact-checking statements by Israeli politicians, was recently acquired by the Israeli financial news site, Globes. The Whistle was incubated by NIF as part of our New Initiatives for Democracy (NIFD), and this news is a hopeful sign of support from the Israeli business community for government accountability and transparency.
Mobilizing for the Lives of Women
Groups like Israel Women’s Network (IWN), Zazim — Community Action, and Omdim Beyachad (Standing Together), Women Against Violence mobilized to bring 30,000 demonstrators to Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest the Israeli authorities’ failure to take action on violence against women. NIF gave emergency grants to organize this demonstration, which was the largest women’s protest ever held in Israel.
Bringing Down Racist Campaign Ads
After the national-religious Jewish Home party put up campaign ads in Ramle that used racist imagery and warned of intermarriage between Jews and Arabs, NIF grantees spoke out. Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and Tag Meir condemned the racist campaign, and the Ramle municipality took down the ads.
Putting Arabic in the Main Square
In response to the clause in the Nation-State Law that downgraded the status of the Arabic language, Israelis held a protest event in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square dubbed “the world’s largest Arabic lesson.” Thousands of Israelis gathered to learn Arabic and hear performances by Arab and Jewish musicians.
Standing Up to Cultural Censorship
NIF supported a coalition of artists and activists advocating against the Cultural Censorship bill, which would have allowed Culture Minister Miri Regev to act as a chief censor and control budgets of cultural institutions. Zazim — Community Action gathered over 8,000 signatures against the law. Thanks in part to these efforts, the vote on the bill has been indefinitely postponed.
Securing Welfare Services
People with mental health disabilities will now have access to welfare services. Following a petition from The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Bizchut: The Israel Human Rights Center for People with Disabilities, and the Sderot Municipality, the Ministry of Welfare overturned its policy to deny services to people with mental health disabilities.
Combating Racism in the Knesset
Zazim – Community Action raised a powerful voice against extremism by collecting 14,000 signatures of Israelis calling to ban the openly racist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party from running in the 2019 elections, while 8,500 more signed on globally in support of Zazim. Thanks to a petition filed by The Israel Religious Action Center, Israel’s Supreme Court disqualified the candidacy of Michael Ben-Ari, leader of Otzma Yehudit.
Marching with Pride
Police initially refused to issue a permit for the firstever LGBTQ pride march in Kfar Saba this summer unless the organizers paid for security costs and placed a two-meter fence that would obscure the marchers from public view. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel sued, and the police backed down from the demands. NIF has helped LGBTQ organizers overcome similar obstacles in Be’er Sheva and Jerusalem.
Holding Business Accountable for Discrimination
Following a petition from The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Israel Land Administration fined Mishab Housing and Construction NIS 30,000 ($8,300) for discriminating against Arab home-buyers in the Galilee town of Maalot-Tarshiha. The firm offered significant discounts to prospective Jewish buyers, but consistently told Arab buyers that the special offers had ended.
Opposing Gender Discrimination
The Israel Religious Action Center won a case representing an 81-year-old woman forced to move from her seat to accommodate a male ultra-Orthodox passenger who refused to sit next to a woman. The court ordered the airline to prohibit flight attendants from asking women to change their seats for this reason.
Ending a Ban on Women’s Voices
The Jerusalem District Court ordered the ultra-Orthodox Kol BaRama radio station to pay NIS 1 million ($280,000) in damages for barring women from speaking on the air. The ruling followed a class action suit by NIF grantee Kolech: Religious Women’s Forum. The ruling established a key precedent allowing class action lawsuits in civil rights cases.
Economic Planning for Bedouin Towns
Lakia will be the first Bedouin municipality in Israel to have its own economic planning department. Thanks to Shatil, in collaboration with the European Union and Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights, Lakia will have the capacity to implement an economic development plan and include local residents in the decision-making process.