By Daniel Sokatch, International CEO of the New Israel Fund
With elections in both Israel and the United States in the rearview mirror, the road ahead is beginning to become clear. While those who support an inclusive, just, and democratic future for the U.S. had a better-than-expected night last Tuesday, the opposite was true the previous week for Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu is likely to assemble the most hardline coalition in Israel’s history, with Kahanists from the Religious Zionist party poised to take control of key ministries.
There is no way to sugarcoat this. Israel’s next government will likely present real threats to some of Israel’s most marginalized people — Arab citizens of Israel, members of the LGBTQ+ community, human rights defenders — and of course to Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
In the face of this challenge, NIF will stand firm, more committed than ever to building a movement to defend the rights of all of Israel’s citizens and those living under its control.
We are no strangers to being in this position. For 43 years, NIF has pursued a vision of equality, justice, and democracy for all. There have been times when we’ve had friends in government and times when those in power turned us into Public Enemy #1.
We are more ready than ever to take on this work. Through our action arm Shatil and our partners, we have built capacity in Israel’s civil society to weather storms like these. And as emergent needs arise in the coming months and years, our Emergency Response projects will allow us to tackle them.
This government may seem unprecedented — and in many ways it is — but the threats to democracy, equality, and justice in Israel predate it and will continue after it. I often say that our work is a marathon, not a sprint. But in reality, it’s a relay race. No one organization or activist can do this work on their own — we each have our part to play.
David N. Myers, NIF’s President, and I wrote in the Los Angeles Times after the election about the long-term challenges facing our movement in Israel and the change the country so desperately needs. Click here to read it.