Standing Up for Asylum Seekers
Thanks to a petition from several NIF grantees including Kav LaOved – Worker’s Hotline, ASSAF – Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, and the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Israel’s Supreme Court struck down the 2017 “Deposit Law,” which confiscated 20% of every paycheck earned by the 36,000 asylum seekers in Israel. Under the draconian law, intended to incentivize leaving the country, this money was held by the government until asylum seekers did so.
Public Transportation on Shabbat
After persistent campaigning by NIF grantees Israel Hofsheet (Be Free Israel) and the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), Tel Aviv and several nearby municipalities introduced public transportation on Saturdays, attracting tens of thousands of passengers. In the wake of the success of these Shabbat buses, other municipalities said they intend to operate public transportation on Saturdays.
Elevating Russian-Speaking Voices
In collaboration with the Seventh Eye, Shatil recently launched the Ru.il website, an online database of Russian-speaking experts. The database is intended for journalists, researchers, and editors to find progressive Russian-speaking voices and increase their representation in Israel’s Russian and Hebrew media.
Protecting Holocaust Survivors
The Israeli government canceled its plan to evict dozens of Holocaust survivors from their government-subsidized housing after pressure from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). Seventy elderly Israelis, including 45 Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans, were due to be evicted from an assisted living housing complex in B’nei Ayish before ACRI, helped the residents fight the decision and overturn it.
Promoting Arabic in the Public Sphere
A campaign by Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality to demand Arabic translation on public transportation is now showing results on buses and bus stops. Following Sikkuy’s calls for the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that signs at bus stops, on the front of buses, and inside buses are bilingual –- in Hebrew and in Arabic — the ministry has begun to implement this policy throughout the public transportation system.
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.
Standing Against Homophobia in Jerusalem
Just a few days before Jerusalem Pride, a far-right group put up homophobic ads against LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage around the city. After the ensuing public outcry and pressure from the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the Jerusalem municipality ordered the removal of the posters.
Combating Voter Suppression
During the April elections, the Likud party hired a private company to put cameras in the polling stations in Arab Israeli polling stations, which it boasted reduced Arab turnout. The plan to once again install cameras for the second round of 2019 elections was challenged by NIF grantees Zazim — Community Action and Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, who successfully petitioned Central Elections Committee Chairman Judge Hanan Melcer to prohibit cameras.
Public Housing Victory for Single Mothers
Thanks to the efforts of the Shatil-led Public Housing Forum, single mothers who receive child support will now be eligible for public housing. Until a recent ruling by the Tel Aviv District Court and effective advocacy by the Public Housing Forum, single mothers receiving child support were considered ineligible for public housing.
Ensuring Accessibility for Arab Israeli Students
After a petition submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Supreme Court has ordered the Ministry of Education to translate a state geography exam for Arabic-speaking students. In response to the court’s ruling, the ministry said the geography maps would be fully translated in time for all future exams.
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.
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 (IRAC), Israel’s Supreme Court disqualified the candidacy of Michael Ben-Ari, leader of Otzma Yehudit. The far-right party also failed to cross the electoral threshold during the September elections.