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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bolstering Jewish-Arab relations – Preventing escalation in shared Jewish-Arab cities and areas of potential tension; preserving the space for a shared society.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Silence, Association 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.
- Action at the local level with municipal leaders
- Building community solidarity through grassroots initiatives and activism
- Media work and influencing public opinion