Equality for Palestinian Citizens of Israel - New Israel Fund Australia

Equality for Palestinian Citizens of Israel

NIF seeks to promote full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, who comprise 20% of Israel’s population, and to enhance their participation in Israel’s democratic processes and institutions.

The Palestinian-Israeli community is the main national non-Jewish minority within Israel and is affected directly by the historical Israeli-Arab conflict. Discrimination against this minority is rife in land planning and distribution, education, municipal funding, representation of Palestinian citizens in decision-making bodies, and more.

Land use and planning is an explosive issue within the Palestinian community, particularly in the Negev where an imposed “solution” on Bedouin land claims threatens to exacerbate the overall tension between Israeli Jews and Arabs. NIF’s strategic focus begins with partnering with organisations advancing land planning to the benefit of the Arab community, with the aim of increasing the supply of available housing and expanding economic opportunity.

Another key strategy is the empowerment and support of Palestinian-Israeli women. We work, in particular, to combat domestic violence, supporting crisis centres and promoting training and economic opportunities.

Projects we support:

Adalah

Adalah is Israel’s leading legal centre for the Palestinian community, and we are funding its legal work across two issue areas: social and economic rights, and land and planning rights.

Palestinian-Israelis are routinely ranked in socio-economic surveys as one of the most disadvantaged communities in Israel. Fewer Palestinian-Israelis finish high school and university than Jewish-Israelis, which feeds into the cycle of unemployment. Palestinian children are far more likely to experience poverty and poorer health than their Jewish-Israeli counterparts.

Until recently, a large number of Bedouin schools in the Negev didn’t have access to nearby bus stops, creating a dangerous hazard for school children. Thanks to court action by Adalah hundreds of kids at 10 high schools and almost 40 primary schools will be much safer on the journeys to and from school. This, and other cases of access to education across the country, mean fewer Palestinian kids will fall behind in educational attainment than their Jewish peers.

Over the last two decades, Adalah has brought more than 250 impact litigation cases before Israeli courts, seeking to promote and protect equality for all citizens of the state.

Grants:

  • 2020 – $20,000
  • 2019 – $20,000
  • 2018 – $26,000

Bimkom, Al Hukok and the Regional Council of Unrecognised Villages

Through our grantees we’re working towards the recognition of Bedouin villages in the Negev.

Almost 100,000 Bedouin live in the Negev in ‘unrecognised villages’. This means they don’t have access to electricity, running water or proper access to education and healthcare, and are constantly at risk of home demolitions.

Around 4,000 Bedouin live in the towns of Ras a Jarba, Wadi al Naam and Um Matan.

As town planners, the staff of Bimkom provide much-needed expertise in liaising with national and local government authorities and other towns in the region. Recently, Bimkom successfully had demolition orders for the villages of Umm al-Khir and Hashem al-Karem frozen.

In 1997, the Regional Council of Unrecognised Villages (RCUV) was established to help leaders of unrecognised villages work in a unified and collaborative way toward achieving recognition for these villages and assistance for their residents.

This project mobilises unrecognised villages’ residents to advance recognition of villages and respond to urgent needs of displaced residents.

We don’t believe that any citizen should be deprived basic necessities, whether they are Jewish or Palestinian.

Al Hukok – the first Bedouin-run legal centre in the Negev – has been making great strides to intervene against the government’s neglect in the provision of planning permits and schools for Bedouin children.

Grants to Bimkom:

  • 2020 – $23,080
  • 2019 – $20,000
  • 2018 – $26,000

Grants to the Regional Council of Unrecognised Villages:

  • 2020 – $12,500

Grants to Al Hukok:

  • 2019 – $7,500
  • 2018 – $13,200
  • 2017 – $13,200

Women Against Violence (Nazareth)

Systemic reductions in social welfare budgets in the Arab-Israeli sector, which has reduced funds for social workers and women's crisis programs, has left the problem of addressing violence against women in the Palestinian society squarely in the hands of civil society.

Today, Women Against Violence is at the forefront of the campaign to end violence experienced by women in Palestinian society on a national level.

Each year, there are as many as ten cases each year of women being killed by domestic violence among Arab citizens of Israel alone. Working against such violence within the Palestinian community in Israel means tackling a social problem with cultural roots in a multicultural context, and within the day-to-day reality of these women living in a complicated political and social situation.

WAV provides direct services to survivors of domestic violence, including providing shelters, economic and psychological aid, training and employment opportunities. This year, it's predicted that more than 700 women will come through their crisis centre hotline or their shelter for survivors of domestic violence. 

Grants:

  • 2020 – $10,000
  • 2019 – $10,000