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.
Closing Health Disparities
A Shatil-led Arab-Jewish forum successfully pressed the Israeli government to open a radiation therapy center in a part of the Galilee that had no such facilities for cancer treatments. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman formally opened the center in June.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Confronting Hate Crimes
For years, right-wing extremists engaged in “Price Tag” attacks on Palestinians, Christian and Muslim holy sites, and even the IDF. In 2016, the Israeli government finally began locating perpetrators and seeking criminal indictments. In June 2017, a prominent West Bank rabbi was indicted for incitement to violence for articles he authored praising perpetrators of these hate crimes.
Ending Segregation in Maternity Wards
The news that hospitals were segregating Jewish and Arab women at maternity wards galvanized the members of Zazim, an organization incubated and launched by NIF, to pressure hospitals to end the practice. Among other victories, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, also an NIF grantee, was invited to run anti-racism trainings for hospital staff.
Stopping Religious Indoctrination
The Secular Forum persuaded the Education Ministry to revise school textbooks designed for Israel’s secular public schools that contained religious indoctrination. The group’s volunteers – parents concerned about the Education Minister’s propaganda efforts – reviewed 80 books used in Israeli elementary schools.
Years of advocacy brought Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant to introduce a $1 billion shekel plan that would make 2,000 housing units available to Israel’s poorest citizens. The plan also eases conditions for public housing tenants to eventually purchase their homes.