NIF Australia was established to support the New Israel Fund, the leading organization committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis. The New Israel Fund is a partnership of Israelis and supporters of Israel worldwide, dedicated to a vision of Israel as the Jewish homeland and a shared society at peace with itself and its neighbours.
The New Israel Fund is widely credited with building Israel’s progressive civil society and has provided more than $250 million to more than 850 cutting-edge organisations since its inception. The Fund’s action arm SHATIL provides Israel’s social change community with hands-on assistance and builds coalitions, empowers activists, and takes the initiative in spearheading national advocacy campaigns.
In line with the New Israel Fund’s broad platforms, NIF Australia supports projects in Israel that:
- strengthen and safeguard civil and human rights
- address economic injustice
- foster tolerance and religious pluralism
- challenge discrimination against Israel’s Bedouin and Arab citizens
- counter disadvantage faced by women
- tackle environmental issues.
For our fundraising focus, we have chosen several specific Israeli projects where Australia’s contribution can be seen to make a difference over time. These are our selected projects.
The Israeli Human Rights Organisation of People with Disabilities (IHROPD)
IHROPD promotes equal rights for people with disabilities through advocacy and by raising awareness among the general public and people with disabilities. Achievements of IHROPD in 2010 include securing the government’s agreement to negotiations to increase disability benefits; the establishment of a Knesset subcommittee to approve amendments to the Accessibility Law; and participation by volunteers from IHROPD in Knesset Committee meetings where they have negotiated specific benefits for people with disabilities.
Funding sought: up to $25,000
The Yerushalmim Movement
Yerushalmim was formed in 2009 and represents Jerusalem residents from Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, and secular backgrounds Yerushalmim works to foster pluralism, openness and tolerance in Jerusalem and opposes coercive attempts by ultra orthodox groups to impose gender segregation in public spaces including streets, buses and religious sites. Yerushalmim also works to improve quality of life for young families in Jerusalem.
In the news: "Jerusalem women challenge ultra-Orthodox ban on 'immodest' posters", 2nd November 2011, Ha'aretz
Funding sought: up to $25,000
The Coalition for Affordable Housing
The Coalition was formed by the New Israel Fund in 2009 to provide a roof body for like-minded organisations that promote solutions for the chronic housing crisis, an issue that became the centrepiece of this year’s tent protests, drawing more than 400,000 Israelis from all sections of Israeli society onto the streets. According to the Bank of Israel, the price of the average Israeli home has risen nearly 50% since December 2007 with rent prices also climbing sharply. Last year the Coalition drafted an Affordable Housing Bill; began negotiations with the municipalities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to amend their building plans and secured resolutions in Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Ra’anana to initiate affordable housing projects, and a decision from the municipality in Jerusalem to scrap plans to build luxury villas in favour of a public housing project of smaller apartments for young couples.
Funding sought: up to $35,000
The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality
The Forum was formed in 1997 by Jewish and Arab residents of the Negev with two major aims: to defend the rights of Bedouin in the area whose villages are not recognised by the government and to bring Jews and Arabs together through cultural programs. There are approximately 190,000 Bedouins in the Negev, about half of whom live in unrecognised villages without such basic services and infrastructure as paved roads, water, garbage collection, electricity and schools. The unrecognised Bedouin village of Al-Arakib is the focus of the Forum’s current campaign. Its residents are Israeli citizens whose homes have been demolished by the government more than a dozen times since 2010, even though the land has been held by generations of Bedouin families with documentary proof of ownership dating back to Ottoman times. Those claims to ownership are disputed by the Israeli government in reliance on legislation and zoning decisions made since 1948.
Funding sought: up to $22,000
Achoti (My Sister)
Achoti was formed in 2000 to support grass roots initiatives helping economically marginalised women to generate income for themselves and their families, through programmes that support women to develop skills and community networks. Current projects include Women Create a Feminist Economy where Achoti partners with businesses and grassroots organisations to provide training in business and marketing; Fair Trade Store, the Middle East's first Fair Trade store, in central Tel Aviv which showcases and markets women's products at a fair price and enables minority women to participate in the country's arts and crafts community and economy.
Funding sought: up to $43,000
Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME)
FOEME promotes a combination of peaceful cooperation and environmental sustainability in the region. During 2011, NIF provided funding for a FOEME project on sustainable planning in the water sector in general, and specifically the rehabilitation of the Jordan River. The project focussed on identifying opportunities to decrease fresh water use in agriculture. FOEME is unique in bringing together Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis to work together to advance vital research, build peace and promote environmental preservation. FOEME's three co-directors, Gidon Bromberg (Australian-born Israeli), Munqeth Mehyar (Jordanian) and Nader Al-Khateeb (Palestinian) were honored by Time magazine as Environmental Heroes of 2008.
In the news: "Aussie ex-pat brings Murray-Darling spirit to Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians", Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council's (AIJAC) Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz applauded the work of director Gidon Bromberg and FOEME, and the Australian government for supporting it, April 2012
Funding sought: up to $25,000