Stopping Deportations of Asylum Seekers
After the Israeli government announced it would make people seeking refuge choose between prison or deportation, NIF-backed organizations mobilized Israelis of every stripe, including Holocaust survivors, Mizrahi leaders, and the urban poor. More than 20,000 Israelis turned out for a demonstration against the deportations. The government has since suspended its forced-deportation program.
Reducing Disparities in the Negev
In a move intended to begin correcting for decades of discrimination, the predominantly Jewish Ramat HaNegev Regional Council has transferred NIS 2 million to the nearby Bedouin towns of Segev Shalom and Neve Midbar.
Putting Arabic in the Main Square
In response to the Nation-State Law which 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 together to learn Arabic and hear performances by Arab and Jewish musicians.
Fighting for Public Housing
Years of advocacy brought the Israeli government to embark on a plan to double the current public housing stock in Israel. An additional 7,000 apartments will become available, every year, to house Israel’s poorest citizens. Single-parent households are the most likely to end up in public housing and will benefit from this program.
Protecting Women’s Rights
The army and institutions of higher education are under pressure to accommodate ultra-Orthodox recruits and students by limiting the roles available to women. A telephone hotline run by the Israel Women’s Network connects women facing discrimination with organizations advocating on their behalf. Their activism has prompted the IDF Chief Rabbi to say that military rabbis who refuse to follow policies that protect women’s service would be fired.
Ending a Ban on Women’s Voices
The Jerusalem District Court has 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.
Speaking Up Online and in the Streets
An initiative by the digital organizing group Zazim – Community Action convinced Israeli pilots to refuse to staff flights forcibly deporting people seeking asylum in Israel. More than 130 pilots and airline crew members responded to the call. This was one part of the successful campaign to pressure the Israeli government to end its forced-deportation program.
Combating Gender Discrimination on El Al
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.
Addressing Racism and Police Brutality
The Israeli police recently hired 30 new Ethiopian-Israeli police officers. Officers will also soon begin to wear body cameras to record their actions during demonstrations. These moves are a direct result of the work of the Ethiopian-Israeli organization Tebeka – Justice & Equality for Ethiopian Israelis, which started engaging with the police three years ago in the wake of brutal crackdowns on Ethiopian-Israeli protests.
Caring for Israel’s Most Disadvantaged
Basic services like electricity are not provided to some Bedouin citizens of the Negev, who live in villages that are not recognized by the government. They subsist with hazardous, unreliable, and noisy power generators. Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has succeeded, through litigation, to force the government to connect some of these communities to the power grid.
Marching with Pride
Police initially refused to issue a permit for the first-ever Pride march in Kfar Saba this summer unless the organizers paid for security costs and placed a two-meter tall fence that would obscure the marchers from public view. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel sued, and the police backed down from their demands. NIF has helped LGBTQ organizers overcome similar obstacles in Beer Sheva and Jerusalem.
Ensuring Women’s Freedoms
Israel’s High Court ruled that street signs demanding that women dress modestly, or not walk on certain sidewalks, must be removed in Beit Shemesh. Lower court ruling were defied by the city’s mayor, and the High Court is still considering imposing fines on the city.