Since our founding in 1979, the New Israel Fund has pioneered funding and support for an array of organizations in Israel working for women’s rights and against domestic abuse, violence and the trafficking of women. More specifically, as part of our mission to strengthen democracy and promote social justice, NIF has led a feminist revolution in Israel by strengthening the women’s movement through financial and capacity-building support in order to combat violence against women and the feminization of poverty; empower women and reduce gender-based discrimination; and advance the status of and develop leadership among Arab women and other minorities in Israel. NIF works with several organizations specifically devoted to preventing or healing the scars of domestic violence, including the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI). In cooperation with ARCCI, from November 19th to November 26th, an Israeli rape victim now living in the U.S. will return home to undertake a bicycle ride the entire length of Israel to raise funds to assist other sex crime victims, increase awareness, and confront her own psychological scars.
When Aliza Amar was just six years old she was raped. Subsequently she was repeatedly sexually abused and assaulted both as a child in institutions and as an adult. Eventually she left Israel for America where she was again the victim of sexual violence when first reaching the country. Now the 45-year-old Israeli who was born in Lod and raised in orphanages has returned home after 20 years in the US to “break her silence” and talk candidly about her traumatic life.
Aliza will begin cycling around Israel on November 19th from Rosh Hanikra on the Lebanese border. She will complete her journey on November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. En route she will pass many of the Association’s main centers and shelters, which were set up by the New Israel Fund.
In 2004 ARCCI received 32,737 calls on its national hotline, of which 8,049 were from victims who reported their assault for the first time, and 9,086 were repeat calls reporting sexual assault. Out of all first-time callers, 2,371 reported rape, 1,235 incest and 921 sexual harassment. The repeat calls included 1,202 calls from women suffering from physical violence inflicted by their spouses, 103 calls from children suffering from violence in the family, 264 calls from women in different stages of divorce and 262 calls from women with an unwanted pregnancy. 2,327 calls were received reporting sexual assault of children younger than 12 years old (32.4% of the total calls).