Palestinian Israelis constitute some 20% of Israel’s population and successive Israeli governments have acknowledged that, by comparison with other sectors of Israeli society, if not with Arabs in neighbouring countries, they have suffered decades of discrimination and neglect.
As Avishay Braverman, Israel’s minister of minorities from 2009-11, said:
Equality and partnership is not only written in our Declaration of Independence, it is not only moral, but it is also essential for the State of Israel, for its sustainable growth. If we do not do what is right and wise, we will be pushing the young Israeli Arabs into adversaries.
That is why NIF funds and supports organisations such as Adalah, that have done and continue to do groundbreaking work in achieving equal rights for Palestinian Israelis.
Defending NIF's support of Palestinian-Israeli organisations in general, and Adalah specifically, former Deputy Attorney-General Yehudit Karp wrote on the Times of Israel website in March 2012:
We can’t allow the attacks on Adalah to succeed. The survival of Israel’s democracy depends on allowing the voices of unpopular minorities to be heard. We, the majority, will not always like what Adalah has to say, or the light they shine on discriminatory practices. It doesn’t matter. Living up to our own best interests and values means that we must engage with our fellow citizens when they stand up for their rights. The attacks on Adalah may hurt that organization. In the long run, they will hurt Israel more.
Former supreme court justice Ayala Procaccia had this praise for Adalah:
A significant number of the decisions in principle handed down by the High Court of Justice on human rights issues were delivered on petitions submitted by Adalah. Adalah, under the leadership of Attorney [Hassan] Jabareen, excels in its commitment, determination, and professionalism. It is an organization that works to advance human rights through legal, and not extra-legal, means, with outstanding intellectual ability, strong moral commitment, and an expansive vision of Israeli society in all its diversity. These qualities have given Adalah its unique place in the human rights landscape in Israel.
If a grantee’s main activity strengthens Israeli society by promoting civil and human rights, pluralism and democracy, NIF will not cut it off on account of statements inconsistent with the Zionist narrative. In a similar way, NIF does not stop funding its Orthodox grantees, who think differently than NIF about rights of LGBT Israelis and women. Free-flowing debate about such issues is not anti-Israel, it is Israeli democracy in action.