NIF’s purpose is to help promote the civil and human rights of Israelis and social and economic justice in Israeli society. Inevitably, ending injustices requires first bringing them into the public spotlight. NIF grantees have done this by undertaking social action campaigns and through legal actions in the High Court of Justice. Their campaigns have included countering gender discrimination and promoting religious pluralism and the civil rights of Palestinian-Israelis and Bedouin citizens.
NIF supports some organisations that oppose settlements as well as the continued occupation of territories captured in 1967. NIF also supports some human rights groups that report on alleged human rights abuses by the Israeli government, the IDF and others.
Most surveys show that a majority of Israelis would like to see an end to the occupation of the territories. This is not an anti-Israel or anti-Zionist position. An end to the occupation can be achieved in the interest of a better Israel without sacrificing Israel’s security needs.
A healthy democracy respects and protects human rights. As Israeli Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has said:
“One of the characteristics of a democracy is the protection of human rights. For that reason in Israel, as in every other democracy, human rights organizations are allowed to operate freely.”
If a human rights abuse is shown to have occurred, it is not the Israeli human rights community that gives ammunition to Israel’s detractors, it is those who committed the abuse in the first place. The fact that an enquiry into such acts takes place reflects well on Israeli democracy.
The IDF itself acknowledges the vital work that Israeli human rights organisations perform. It has expressly acknowledged the contribution made by Israeli human rights monitors to improving the IDF’s protocols for minimising civilian casualties in urban warfare.