2020 Annual Report
In an unprecedented year, the New Israel Fund of Canada community stayed connected and strong. Nearly 1,000 people attended our events and we funded nine projects in Israel which supported the most vulnerable populations during crisis.
The work of the New Israel Fund of Canada has always been guided by our shared values — democracy, equality, and social justice.
Faced with a global pandemic and electoral impasses in Israel, we have been continually reminded that our work is about one thing more than any other: connecting our community of supporters here in Canada with the activists, advocates, and allies in Israel who are boldly meeting every challenge as it arises.
Whether defending democracy in the shadow of the coronavirus, standing up for the most vulnerable and excluded, fighting against racism and discrimination, or opposing the occupation – the New Israel Fund of Canada was there. And we will continue our mission to advance democracy and equality today and into the future.
We are incredibly proud of our results in 2020, and we know that you, our supporters, are too. We thank you for your steadfast support as we near the end of yet another challenging year.
Thank you to you all for making this possible.
President, New Israel Fund of Canada
52 events, 1,000 people
From meeting inspiring activists from our project partners in Israel to the creator of Shtisel, the events hosted by NIFC brought us together to learn and share, even when the pandemic kept us physically apart.
$1 million+ in funding
In 2020, we sent over $1 million to organizations in Israel that fight for socio-economic equality, religious freedom, civil and human rights, shared society and anti-racism, Palestinian citizens, and democracy itself.
COVID-19 Crisis Action Plan
As the COVID-19 pandemic deepened in Israel, the New Israel Fund created a Crisis Action Plan that focused our work during this period: protecting the most marginalized and vulnerable communities, defending civil liberties and democracy, and maintaining a strong and vibrant civil society.
Responding to the Public Health Emergency
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, it impacted each of us in profound ways. The virus has revealed inequities and vulnerabilities in all of the societies it has affected, including in Israel.
The New Israel Fund’s task during this public health emergency has been — as always — to ensure that Israeli civil society mobilizes as powerfully as possible to protect equality and democracy.
Throughout 2020, NIFC’s funded partners in Israel pivoted to respond to these challenges:
- Shatil provided over 700 hours of training to 26 civil society organizations on how to deal with COVID-19.
- Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s clinic provided health care to over 2,000 asylum seekers and migrant workers during lockdown.
- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel restored power to 50,000 homes after persuading the Israel Electric Corporation not to disconnect customers with unpaid bills during the pandemic.
- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel overturned 1 new labour rule that permitted employers to lay off thousands of pregnant women and those on maternity leave.
- Zazim surpassed 200,000 members to their online rapid-response network—and mobilized tens of thousands against unequal pandemic aid, corruption, and the occupation.
In addition to NIFC’s support, NIF donors around the world provided more than $500,000 in emergency funding to 32 organizations to help them respond to urgent needs.
Rallying the Canadian Jewish Community Against Annexation
As the Netanyahu government began discussing formal annexation of the West Bank, NIFC joined our progressive Jewish partners in Canada and abroad in expressing opposition to the plan.
- Shared an anti-annexation video narrated by Mandy Patinkin, which was viewed more than 100,000 times around the world.
- Sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne, urging him to publicly oppose the Israeli government’s plans.
- Sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed by 58 prominent Canadians, in collaboration with Canadian Friends of Peace Now and JSpaceCanada.
- Joined a global coalition of 50 Jewish organizations from 17 different countries to oppose annexation.
Almost 1,000 people enjoyed our events — in-person, and then virtually — in 2020.
In 2020, our programs provided engaging and thought-provoking content, covering a range of issues including the Balfour protests, LGBTQ rights in Israel and Canada, insights into the Israeli TV show Shtisel, and illiberalism in Israel.
Stepping in to Support Pensioners
Our flagship project partner, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), was inundated with phone calls soon after Israel’s first lockdown began. One call which came through highlighted that 40,000 pensioners could no longer receive their social security benefits, making it impossible to pay rent and buy food and medications. Following ACRI’s intervention, the postmaster general mailed out credit cards to at-risk groups, ensuring they could survive through lockdown.
Combating Discrimination Against Women and the LGTBQ Community
The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) won a court victory against the Municipality of Jerusalem, to ensure that LGBTQ couples could take part in the city’s outdoor weddings initiative during the pandemic. IRAC also continued to oppose the segregation and humiliation of women, including on public transport and on airplanes.
Defending the Rights of Palestinian Citizens
Shatil provided specific trainings to Palestinian citizens’ organizations, providing Arabic language trainings on assisting the vulnerable during the pandemic, as well as combatting a rise in crime and violence in the Palestinian community.
ACRI successfully demanded that government bodies translate COVID-19 related information into Arabic.
Zazim launched a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic website with Arabic versions of their campaigns. Before the March 2020 election, Zazim ran campaigns to oppose incitement in the media and attempts to suppress Palestinian candidates from fairly running for office.
A Beautiful Message from RBG
For many of us, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (z”l) represented a shining light for the values we cherish: equality, fairness, and justice for all.
Her passing on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, amid such a turbulent year, was a truly sad moment.
Soon afterwards, though, NIF was informed that Justice Ginsburg had directed that NIF receive proceeds from a recent award as “among the institutions and organizations that meant the most to her.”
NIF was humbled and inspired by her incredibly touching gesture of support. Our commitment is to do our best to honour her memory, her legacy, and her belief in NIF by working, every day, for equality and democracy in Israel.
Our Legacy Society
Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, we and other NIF branches around the world have raised commitments of over $40 million towards our mission of strengthening democracy and equality in Israel in decades to come.
Our Legacy Society recognizes those special individuals who have included the New Israel Fund of Canada in their long-term plans through a bequest or trust, by beneficiary designation, or other financial planning arrangement:
Efrim Boritz and Naomi Fromstein*
Fredelle and Harold Brief
Isser Dubinsky and Antoinette Wertman*
Joan Garson and David Baskin*
Mark Guttman and Lesley Simpson*
Barbara and Sy Landau (z”l)*
Ben Murane and Naomi Kramer*
Allan Risk and Daniel Gelfant*
* Denotes Founders Circle members who made early, significant commitments to NIF’s 40th Anniversary Legacy Giving Campaign.
Our Projects in 2020
In 2020, NIFC distributed $1 million to our project partners in Israel — all registered Israeli not-for-profit organizations — fulfilling our mission to promote democracy and equality in Israel. Since our founding in 1986, we have distributed over $10 million to projects in Israel.
Education on Social and Economic Rights
The Adva Center monitors inequality in Israel’s budgets and social services, while its educational programs empower marginalized groups to participate in policy-making. Our 2020 project educated the public with a focus on gender issues and the cost of the occupation. In the COVID-19 crisis, our project is providing much-needed information on pre-existing social gaps in Israel.
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Litigation to Protect Human Rights on Social and Economic Issues
ACRI is the country’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization. Our 2020 project assisted those who are victims of economic discrimination through legal advocacy and public outreach related to racial profiling, gaps in health services, and the criminal justice system. During the COVID-19 crisis, ACRI protected the most vulnerable on issues like health in prisons, health services to all residents in Jerusalem, and access to disability benefits.
Advancing Recognition and Proper Planning of Bedouin Villages
Bikmom – Planners for Planning Rights strengthens human rights in the field of urban planning and housing policies in the Negev. Bimkom employs planners, engineers, and legal advisors to help unrecognized Bedouin villages to secure essential services. Our 2020 project assisted two villages, including one facing imminent eviction — important work which continues amidst the current crisis.
Palestinian Housing Rights in East Jerusalem
Ir Amim, whose name means “City of Nations,” seeks to make Jerusalem more equitable for Palestinian residents through policy monitoring and public education. Our 2020 project focused on the data collection, monitoring, and public education about home demolitions and the lack of public services in East Jerusalem – critical factors in stemming the current health crisis.
Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC)
Legal Assistance and Advocacy for the LGBT Community
IRAC – the advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel – is the country’s
preeminent civil and human rights organization focusing on the issues of religion and state. Our 2020 project aimed to decrease incitement against the LGBT community, support pride efforts, and promote equal rights for LGBT couples seeking immigration and adoption.
New Israel Fund’s Shatil Department
Strengthening Arab Civil Society in Israel
Shatil is the operating arm of the New Israel Fund in supporting the social change sector as a whole, including training for organizations and activists. Our 2020 project bolstered the capacity of Arab civil society groups via trainings on social change tools, work plan development and implementation, and other capacity building initiatives. During the COVID-19 crisis, Shatil quickly shifted to helping Arab civil society organizations adapt and continue their crucial work for Palestinian citizens.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)
Providing Access to Health Care to Disadvantaged Populations
PHR-I delivers medical services and advocates for health issues in underserved populations.
Our 2020 project focused on health services to status-less people, such as asylum-seekers and refugees in South Tel Aviv, by providing urgently-needed medical services and information. During the COVID-19 crisis, our project was fully focused on COVID-related information, advocacy, and testing for these populations.
Tag Meir (The Light Tag Forum)
Solidarity Visits to Victims and Survivors of Racial Violence Incidents
Tag Meir is a coalition comprised of 48 organizations from across the religious-secular spectrum that works to combat “price tag” attacks and hate crimes. Our 2020 project provided urgent response visits to victims of hate crimes, as well as events that demonstrate solidarity between all types of Israelis. During the COVID-19 crisis, Tag Meir shifted their urgent responses to the needs of the current emergency: food for asylum seekers and refugees.
Zazim – Community Action
Arabic Language Community Online Organizing
Zazim – Community Action is a strong people-powered campaigning community with the vision of creating a shared, equal future for Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Our 2020 project focused on creating content and campaigns relevant to Israel’s minority Arab population. When the health crisis began, Zazim immediately focused on ensuring equality and democracy for all residents during this emergency, such as the health needs of Palestinian citizens and asylum seekers, as well as opposing the shuttering of the judicial branch.
2020 Financial Statements
Our 2020 Expenses
2020 Balance sheet summary
Audited Financial Statements
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