NIF’s Emergency Safety Net

Following the atrocities that Hamas committed against Israeli communities near the Gaza border and the ensuing war, the New Israel Fund (NIF) mobilized resources and staff around the world to meet the immense needs of the moment. We mourn for the innocent lives lost in Israel and Gaza, and are continuing to work toward a better future for all. NIF is providing aid to Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, who have been affected; advocating for the release of the hostages being held captive by Hamas in Gaza; safeguarding human and civil rights in Israel and the occupied West Bank; and working to advance a shared, peaceful future for everyone in Israel.

Support NIF’s Emergency Safety Net

NIF’s Emergency Safety Net response is focusing on the following critical areas:
*To learn more about these areas in-depth and to see specific examples of work we’ve done in these areas, see the accordion at the bottom.

  1. Humanitarian aid and basic needs – Assisting the weakest and most vulnerable communities in Israel and providing mental health and trauma counseling to NGO staff and affected individuals. Over time, the focus of our work has shifted away from humanitarian aid, which the government and municipalities have taken a greater role in addressing, toward the latter three priorities, as well as advocating for the release of the hostages.
  2. Safeguarding human and civil rights – Ensuring that freedom of speech and
    expression are protected, and raising awareness about escalating violence
    toward Palestinians and activists in the occupied West Bank. Tracking and identifying incitement online and in digital forums, especially by right-wing groups targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel and left-wing activists, and relaying it to law enforcement; monitoring fake news online.
  3. Bolstering Jewish-Arab relations – Preventing escalation in shared Jewish-Arab cities and areas of potential tension; preserving the space for a shared society.
  4. Providing an alternative vision for Israel’s future – Formulating policy proposals and developing new ideas and leaders that can advance a peaceful, equitable vision for the future.

We know that the situation is fluid and dangerous, and that there are very difficult times ahead. But we also know that in this moment of crisis, providing support to those Israelis looking out for the most vulnerable, fighting hatred and incitement, and defending the hope for a truly shared future for all Israelis is what NIF is called to do. 

Support NIF’s Emergency Safety Net

Hundreds of thousands of residents of towns near the Gaza border and southern Israel—including Jewish Israelis, Bedouin in the Negev, and migrant workers—have been internally displaced following the Hamas attack on October 7 and the ensuing war. NIF and our grantees are providing humanitarian aid and basic needs for many of them, including arranging for temporary and long-term housing solutions, distributing food and cooking supplies, providing medical attention and psychological support, organizing educational and recreational activities for children, and more. In response to numerous requests from organizations and activists since the start of the war, NIF is working to increase its capacity to provide psychological support. We have also identified the need for mental health support for our own staff. NIF has made immediate funds available for these activities and will make grants on an ongoing basis as needed. Examples include:  
  • Tzedek Centers, associated with the Hashomer Hatzair movement, is addressing the urgent needs of evacuees from Gaza border towns. These include hospitality centers (called “Open House”) where families can get respite, services, and basic needs, as well as educational activities and emotional support for children and youth. These centers also collect equipment and goods from around the country for families that have been relocated, offer babysitting services for the children of essential workers, such as medical personnel treating the wounded.  
  • NIF has paid for hundreds of evacuated families from the southern Israeli towns of Sderot and Ofakim to stay at Eilat hotels, offering them a space of safety and rest.  
  • The Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages is receiving funds for humanitarian aid, including water tanks, food, and first aid kits for Bedouin residents of unrecognized villages, the poorest and most marginalized communities in Israel. Keshet is providing humanitarian aid for Bedouin evacuees who have been relocated to Mitzpe Ramon.  
  • The Negev Council is assisting families that have been relocated to the eastern Negev region and surrounding areas. This work includes providing hot meals and supplies for preparing food; activities and supplies for children, including 400 tablet computers as well as educational activities and content; and arranging housing solutions for those displaced from kibbutzim that were destroyed.

Since the start of the war, misinformation and disinformation have been spreading online and NIF grantees have been working to combat the phenomenon. At the same time, extremists in the government and around the country have targeted Palestinian citizens of Israel and leftwing activists, subjecting them to campaigns of harassment, sanctions, suspensions, and disciplinary action for expressing their opinions. NIF is working to ensure that the war is not exploited to clamp down on criticism of the government or chill dissent. Examples include:
  • FakeReporter, a watchdog organization that combats malicious activity and fake news online, has already debunked some of the most disturbing videos shared since the war began, including one purporting to show Israeli children in cages. FakeReporter has teamed up with members of the Israeli tech community to create “Digital Dome,” a clearinghouse for reporting harmful content that incites to violence, amplifies racism, or disseminates lies.
  • NIF grantees I’lam: Arab Center for Media Freedom, Development and Research, Sikkuy-Aufoq: For a Shared and Equal Society, and FakeReporter are working together to train Palestinian citizens of Israel to identify incitement and disinformation about their communities during this time. 
  • The Civil Society Protection Hub, which NIF established to support activists and organizations during the prodemocracy protests in Israel this year, has been convening left-wing activists in WhatsApp groups to report threats or violence against them and asked the Justice Ministry to block a Telegram group where the personal information (including addresses) of leftists were being posted. The Hub also has continued its work defending frontline activists who protect and help Palestinians in the West Bank, while human rights groups including Breaking the SilenceAssociation for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and others are working to raise awareness and appeal to Israeli law enforcement to help thwart violent attacks against Palestinians.
  • Grantees including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel are also working to provide legal assistance to individuals whose freedom of speech or expression have been harmed.

Since May 2021, when inter-communal violence erupted in mixed Jewish-Arab cities across Israel, NIF and its action arm, Shatil, have stepped up programs that strengthen grassroots partnerships between Arabs and Jews in communities across Israel. NIF is working with partners to establish a grants pool of $300,000 to be used to fund small grants to local, grassroots initiatives promoting Arab-Jewish solidarity in mixed cities, and larger grants to national organizations that have local branches and are working to build shared society. In addition, provided a rapid response grant to Tzedek Centers, an NIF core grantee, for work with Shatil to coordinate and convene these initiatives. Since this crisis began, Shatil’s Shared Society Forum, composed of CEOs and senior staff from shared society organizations, has taken a leading role in coordinating activity across the field. The forum has created teams to guide work in these key areas:  
  1. Action at the local level with municipal leaders
  2. Building community solidarity through grassroots initiatives and activism
  3. Media work and influencing public opinion 
Additionally, Shatil is supporting activities that enhance partnership between Jews and Arabs in areas prone to flare-ups. These initiatives have the potential to encourage understanding and solidarity, de-escalate situations of tension or violence, and save lives.

NIF has long worked to support grassroots movements, think tanks, and leadership development programs that are advancing an alternative vision for Israel – one that is based on democracy, justice, and equality. Even before the start of the war, NIF provided a grant for an initiative (called “What Yes”) that outlines progressive policy proposals that the prodemocracy camp is promoting, and presents a vision for a potential “equality government” and its first 100 days in power. The current situation underscores the need for such a vision, and for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. NIF is partnering with aChord, a social psychology center, to conduct research on effective messaging to sway public opinion on a peaceful resolution to the conflict, as well as with liberal think tanks to reevaluate the government’s priorities in Israel and within the region, and present ideas and solutions to lawmakers and the public.