Shatil leads public housing win

Thousands of Israelis will be able to take a critical step out of the poverty chain thanks to the efforts of the SHATIL-led Public Housing Forum.

After several years in deep freeze, Israel’s Public Housing Law, passed in 1998, will now be implemented again due to the Forum’s intensive advocacy work.

“One third of Israelis live below the poverty line and families spend more money on housing than anything else. Implementation of the Public Housing Law will help thousands of Israelis who have difficulty meeting basic needs like food, medicine and housing and will significantly reduce the dimensions of intergenerational poverty in the country,” said SHATIL policy expert, Danny Gigi.

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Supporting the Rights of African Asylum Seekers in Israel

1488028_10151873243993951_1385262856_n.jpgDid you know that before Sunday's massive rally in Israel supporting the rights of African refugees and asylum seekers, NIF gave an emergency grant to help the protest organisers?

At the rally in downtown Tel Aviv, 20,000 African migrants and refugees gathered to protest harsh new laws aimed at their status in Israel. According to the legislation, anybody crossing Israel's border without a permit is detained and transferred to an "open facility." Once in the open facility, thrice daily roll-calls make it almost impossible to leave or work. Migrants can be held indefinitely. As has been the case for some time, Africans with legitimate claims to asylum status are not receiving individual hearings as required by international law.

NIF's grant of $3,000 for transportation and sound equipment helped support these marginalized voices.

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NIF's Achievements in Israel - 2013

rsz_shatil_poverty_forum_1.jpg2013 has been a big year for NIF -- both in Australia, and in Israel.

You can read more about NIF Australia's progress in our 2013 report, and below the work of NIF and its grantees across the width and breadth of Israeli society.

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Participate in Human Rights Week in Israel

ACRI-HRWeek.jpgNIF flagship grantee the Association for Civil Rights in Israel is running its Human Rights Week to celebrate International Human Rights Day on December 10th.

The photo on the right is of NIF Australia Executive Director Liam Getreu showing his support for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.

All you need to do to participate is print off this poster, add to it your most important human rights issue, and upload it with the hashtag #HRWeek to Facebook or Twitter.

See some of the photos ACRI has already uploaded to Facebook

Update on the Prawer-Begin Plan

As Israel's development and implementation of the Prawer-Begin Plan progresses, we have collated a number of resources to help you better understand its implications for Israel's Bedouin sector. Most usefully is an excellent video from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI):

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“Kick Racism Out of Football” Celebrates 10 Years

Arab-fan-presents-a-Jewish-player-with-flowers.jpgThe New Israel Fund’s “Kick Racism Out of Football” campaign is celebrating a decade of enormous success this year. 

In events organised by the campaign, dozens of Arab and Jewish fans met before the opening match of Israel's new soccer season to prepare anti-racism banners, and the fans of Hapoel Tel Aviv and from the Arab city of Sakhnin also discussed the need for shared society and tolerance.

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Thanks to Shatil, activists bring social justice issues to Israel's municipal elections

Photo: Uriel Sinai / Getty Images

More local councils around the country will be equipped to promote democracy, social justice and shared society issues as a result of Shatil's focus on the municipal elections this year. Shatil, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013, is NIF's action arm in Israel.

Seven new local council members who won seats in the October 22 elections were trained in Shatil's pre-election leadership courses for social change in the local authorities. Ten other course graduates, who decided to run after taking the course, did not win their bids for municipal council seats, but raised important progressive issues during their campaigns. Eleven new Ethiopian Israelis are now city council members and all of them attended Shatil trainings. At least one course graduate completely changed the discourse in his city around tolerance vis a vis the gay community.

All in all, 52 activists graduated from four trainings and many more attended a range of workshops focused on leveraging the elections to promote issues such as religious pluralism, environmental protection and social housing.

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Taking Our Place: Women of the Wall's 25th Anniversary

Five prominent Australian women have contributed to a book celebrating the 25th anniversary of Israeli organisation “Women of the Wall”.

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Bring Democracy Back to Education Before It's Too Late

According to a new poll, nearly half of Israeli Jews think they should have more rights than non-Jews, with the figures particularly disturbing among young people. This is the result of a system that must be changed.

Continue reading for an article by NIF Executive Director Rachel Liel originally published in Walla. You can read more about the poll at the Times of Israel.

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Changing the language from rationalisation to responsibility - by Barbara Swirski

This article by Adva Center (The Study of Israeli Society and for Social Justice and Equality) executive director Barbara Swirski was published in NIF's Ha'aretz Yom Kippur supplement, and was read by tens of thousands of Israelis.

adva.jpgNow that the government has spent three decades striving to downsize, following the neo-liberal model, perhaps the time has come to transition from the language of rationalization to that of responsibility. Downsizing means budget cuts, privatization, and exchanging worker-employer relations for consumer-product relations. Responsibility, by contrast, means ensuring adequate funding for social services; reversing the privatization trend; and a return to worker-employer relations, so that Israel continues to be a welfare state rather than one promoting the wellbeing and profit of labor contractors.

How can we bring about the change? Here are two examples: retirement savings plans  and healthcare.

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