NIF awarded 19 grants to grassroots projects that promote women’s issues during a special session last week of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.
Committee Chair Aida Touma-Suleiman (Joint List) said in her words of greeting, “NIF, the Dafna Fund, and other organizations have undertaken welcome long-term endeavors in the campaign for a more just society. NIF has made a large contribution to Israeli civil society and when we defend NIF we are defending all of us.”
MK Touman-Suleiman also spoke about her personal experience seeing the impact of NIF’s investments from her years as a leader within civil society, before she entered the Knesset. “When I established Women Against Violence, today the leading organization in Arab society on violence against women, women’s rights, and feminist activity in Israel, we received funding from NIF that continues to this day.”
“We would not have achieved all that we did were it not for the New Israel Fund,” she added.
Other Knesset Members present at the event included Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), Merav Michaeli (Labor), Amir Peretz (Labor), Mossi Raz (Meretz), Michal Rozin (Meretz), and Ksenia Svetlova (Hatnuah). The National Council of Jewish Women was also a sponsor.
NIF announced awards to 19 ventures campaigning for women’s rights and gender equality. Grantees included ultra-Orthodox women Feini Suknik, who is campaigning against prostitution in the ultra-Orthodox community and Esti Shoshan who fights to give women a voice in the community.
Other grantees included Lena Rosovsky who campaigns on behalf of Russian speaking immigrant women and Tamar Lavie from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv who has set up women’s groups in the adjacent Arab communities of Tsur Baher and Jabel Mukabar.
In praising the new grantees, NIF Israel Executive Director Mickey Gitzin said, “The feminist arena is not only about organizations but also about activists doing important work in the field. These are women from the ultra-Orthodox community, from Palestinian society, from the periphery and from center of the country, to whom philanthropy regrettably doesn’t always have an answer. This is what we are trying to change. First and foremost I want to declare that we are going to treat the issue of violence against women in Arab society as a core issue that NIF will deal with.”
Over the past year, NIF has invested more than $1 million in women’s organizations including such issues as female leadership and feminism within the Mizrahi, Orthodox, and Arab communities. Over the past 40 years NIF has supported women in campaigning against sexual harassment, in pursuing equality of opportunity in the army and employment, in protecting their rights vis-a-vis the Orthodox rabbinate, and in campaigning against trafficking of women.
Photo by Noam Sharon ATP Productions