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On Sunday 25 November, NIF hosted a conversation on the "shrinking democratic space" with Gillian Triggs, former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, and Sharon Abraham-Weiss, executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).Read more
This weekend, Sharon Abraham-Weiss from our flagship grantee the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) arrives in Australia to discuss the concept of the ‘shrinking democratic space’.Read more
Liam Getreu, NIF Australia's executive director, was interviewed on ABC News The World about the new Nation-State basic law and its implications for equality and democracy in Israel.Read more
A few hours ago the Knesset passed the ‘Nation-State Law’, the latest ‘basic law’ which forms Israel’s de facto constitution.
This dangerous new law dismantles Israel’s founding status as a homeland for the Jews and a democratic state for all its citizens, replacing it with a singular vision of Israel as a Jewish state.
It also sends a powerful message: non-Jews in Israel, some 20%+ of the population, are second-class citizens.
While the most troubling parts of the bill were stripped at the last moment – including a provision that would instruct judges to consider halacha when making rulings, and one that allowed for exclusive communities based on religion or ethnicity – its core message of exclusion still has significant impact.
Not only does the law remove Arabic’s status as an “official language” in Israel, it also makes no mention of Israel being a democracy.
Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, wrote:
Beginning with Israel's Declaration of Independence, the Jewish value of human dignity and the principle of the equality of all people have formed the democratic foundation of the state. This law has betrayed those values. It is a slap in the face to Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel. Legislation that identifies first- and second-class citizens has no place in a democracy.
NIF wasn’t alone in opposing this bill.
President Reuven Rivlin warned that parts of the bill would “harm the Jewish people, Jews throughout the world and the State of Israel.” Labour leader and incoming chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac “Bougie” Herzog wrote that he “fully shares the grave concerns ... for the damage that this bill will cause to Israeli society and Israeli democracy.”
There is nothing wrong with Israel being a state for the Jewish people but that cannot come at the expense of its non-Jewish citizens.
Israel’s liberal democratic characteristics – its embrace of a pluralist society, upholding of democratic norms and value of individual rights – are integral parts of its society. Undermining them undermines Israel’s Zionist vision.
NIF is strident in its opposition to the effects of this harmful law and will be vigilant in ensuring it is not used to marginalise or discriminate against any Israeli citizen.
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Our fourth cohort of Naomi Chazan fellows has just begun 10 amazing days in Israel. This year the five Australians will be joined by young activists from the UK, Canada and America, making it a truly international opportunity to learn about civil society in Israel, as well as other Jewish communities around the world.Read more
The Netanyahu government is working at a fever pitch to try to pass the “Nation-State” Bill before the end of the Knesset’s summer session on July 22.Read more
Last week, on the eve of the visit to Australia by Breaking the Silence’s Avner Gvaryahu, the Australian Jewish News published an article by a Benayahu Carmi. He claimed he served “shoulder to shoulder” with Avner for three years, and based on that experience, he alleged that Avner is a liar.
Carmi’s claim is false and this week the AJN published a clarification acknowledging and regretting its error.
Our events launching Kingdom of Olives and Ash with Geraldine Brooks, Assaf Gavron and Breaking the Silence
We’re looking forward to our events launching “Kingdom of Olives and Ash” with Breaking the Silence next week. It is timely given the flare-up of tensions on the border with Gaza.Read more
Amos Oz, the acclaimed author and moral voice of Israel, has written an incredible essay in this week's Australian Jewish News about the importance of standing up for human rights, justice and equality.
Come to the launch of 'Kingdom of Olives and Ash' with Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks, Israeli prize-winning novelist Assaf Gavron and Breaking the Silence executive director Avner Gvaryahu in Sydney (6 June) and Melbourne (7 June).Read more
Today, we often see the state of Israel and the greater Middle East through the lens of photographs. Whether they are cherished mementos or flashes on social media feeds, the pictures capture the concerns that divide us, and the events that bring us together. Some of these moments depict horror, sadness and a plea for a more just and moral society. Others fill us with hope and validation that we are heading towards a bright future.Read more