The New Israel Fund (NIF) announced today that it will present its premier prize, The Gallanter Prize, to Rula Daood and Alon-Lee Green, the National Co-Directors of Omdim Beyachad (Standing Together). The Gallanter Prize is awarded annually to outstanding Israeli activists who have made significant contributions to the field of social justice in Israel. The prize is named for and sponsored by two esteemed leaders of NIF and the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish community, Linda and Sanford (Sandy) Gallanter. Each years’ winner receives a cash award in support of their work and is invited to address NIF’s “Guardian of Democracy” national gala. This year, Omdim Beyachad’s co-directors, Rula Daood and Alon-Lee Green will address the gala, which will be held both virtually and in person in San Francisco on Thursday, September 15 at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern. Tickets are available at www.nif.org/guardian
Each activist is given a $15,000 award in recognition of their work to build a mass movement of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel who fight for progress. “We are so pleased to support the activists of Omdim Beyachad, who are such admirable and inspiring leaders,” said Linda and Sandy Gallanter. “It is powerful to see a movement where Israelis can support multiple causes that will improve civil society. Omdim Beyachad addresses so many issues — like raising the minimum wage, ending the occupation, and fighting for a Green New Deal for Israel. This is incredibly important work.”
Rula Daood was born and raised in the Galilee village of Kafr Yasif and is a practicing speech pathologist. Her activism began in her home city and she later became involved in promoting Jewish-Arab partnership in mixed (Jewish-Arab) cities. Before being appointed as Co-National Director of Standing Together, Rula worked as a community organizer, organizing events and protests that drew hundreds of activists.
“I started organizing because I saw that while my Arab-Palestinian society had unique issues and struggles as a national minority, most of what concerned us — the fight for LGBTQ, Gender equity, and an end to gun violence were shared by the majority of the people that live here,” Daood said. “I realized that what impacts my local community, is also impacting other Palestinian, Jewish and mixed cities. Standing Together (Omdim Beyqchad, Naqif Ma’an) is grounded in a recognition that the majority of the people that live here, share the same interest for change — towards peace, equality, and justice.”
Alon-Lee Green is the Co-National Director and a founder of Standing Together. He got his start organizing waiters in a chain of coffee-shops and went on to found Israel’s first National Waiters Union. Alon-Lee emerged as a prominent leader of Israel’s social protest movement in the summer of 2011, and subsequently served as a political adviser in the Knesset.
“As a Jewish citizen of Israel, it’s easy to only think about the struggles those of us in the majority face,” Green said. “But my organizing experience made me realize that we need to not just live together, but to fight for this place together. The only way we’ll secure justice for Palestinians living under occupation, for exploited workers, and for other marginalized people is when we fight together and in solidarity with one another.”
Founded in 2013, the Gallanter Prize has been awarded for the last ten years to emerging social justice leaders in Israeli civil society. Past winners of the prize include Fida Shehada, Lod City Council Member and activist; Efrat Yerday, the chair of the Association for Ethiopian Jews; and Mutasim Ali, one of the leaders of the African asylum seeker community in Israel.
The New Israel Fund is the leading organization advancing and defending democracy and equality for all Israelis. Widely credited with building progressive Israeli civil society, NIF supports a wide range of Israeli nonprofits and has provided over $300 million to progressive civil society organizations since its inception in 1979.