2013 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.
Democracy, Civil & Human Rights
- In a victory for human rights, Israel’s Supreme Court invalidated the arbitrary imprisonment of African asylum seekers for three years. Five NIF grantees including the Hotline for Migrant Workers brought the case to the High Court, decided in mid-September. The Knesset continues to evade Israel’s responsibility to refugees, passing another bill in December to imprison them for shorter periods without asylum hearings.
- From the onset of the vicious “price tag” attacks, NIF-supported organisations began intensive efforts promoting a shared society. In solidarity visits to mosques, monasteries, Palestinian villages and other sites of price-tag violence, the NIF convened Tag Meir movement has been the only consistent responder to scenes of racism and intolerance.
- In a precedent-setting ruling, the Haifa Magistrate Court approved a settlement against a real estate developer who discriminated against Arab buyers. Flagship NIF grantee the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) played an important role in this case fighting discrimination in land allocation.
- In a victory for democracy, the transfer of government and public resources to private companies will now be made public. The decision follows a number of cases, such as the building of express lanes on the Tel Aviv highway and the discovery of offshore natural gas, in which the state passed control of public resources over to private for-profit companies without outside scrutiny. The ruling is the result of a concerted campaign by NIF grantee the Movement for Freedom of Information.
Social & Economic Justice
- In May, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein instructed the government to immediately stop the exclusion and segregation of women in the public sphere. The announcement followed a multi-year campaign by NIF and its grantees.
- The number of female representatives of Arab municipalities nearly doubled in Israel’s municipal elections. This follows a major NIF grant to five organisations (led by grantees Mossawa and Women against Violence) for the purpose of increasing female representation from all parties on local councils.
- Thanks to the efforts of NIF grantee Ahuzat Negev, the residents of Ofakim are celebrating the announcement that a 24/7 urgent care centre will be opened in their town. This decision follows a two year campaign focusing on the lack of medical facilities on Israel’s geographical periphery, particularly when it comes to emergency services.
- In a victory for the rights of Arab and ultra-Orthodox women, the Knesset has raised the minimum age of marriage from 17 to 18. The vote followed a ten-year campaign by NIF grantee the Working Group for Equality in Personal Status Issues. The legislation is an important safeguard for girls’ rights to education and equal opportunity.
Religious Pluralism & Tolerance
- A precedent-setting ruling, decided in reaction to the continual arrests and harassment of NIF grantee Women of the Wall, held that the Orthodox authorities do not have a monopoly on determining how Jews pray at the Kotel. The decision is a major victory in the ongoing struggle for egalitarian prayer at Judaism’s holiest site.
- In a landmark victory for religious pluralism, the government announced that it will now allow rabbis from the Reform and Conservative movements to serve as state-salaried community rabbis. The decision follows a seven-year legal struggle by veteran NIF grantee Israel Religious Action Center.