Ben Murane, Executive DirectorThe New Israel Fund of Canada is based on a simple idea: People like you and me who care about Israel can join together, make strategic investments in social change, and help Israel to be a free and open society.

In 2018, you and nearly a thousand other Canadians just like you funded 21 incredible projects in Israel, advancing equality, pluralism, and a better future. Each of these 21 projects offered us inspiring stories of success — too many to share in one email.

So here are just nine of our top achievements this year: 

1. Asylum Seeker Deportations — Defeated!

Ghere TrailblazerThis year, two of our projects worked with thousands of Israelis — and people like you — to defeat Netanyahu’s asylum seeker deportation plan. It’s a tremendous victory shared by our partners Shatil and the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. A long-term solution is still needed for the 38,000 asylum seekers in Israel — and we will be there next year to keep fighting for the right of every asylum seeker to have their application reviewed.

(Learn more about Hotline’s Ghere, one of our four featured trailblazers.)

2. Twenty-Five Years of the Civil Liberties Law Fellowship

This year we conclude 25 years of NIF’s Civil Liberties Law Fellows and celebrate the 69 graduates of this program whose legal victories before the Supreme Court touch every single facet of Israeli life. Established in 1984, over the last decades almost every judicial decision in the area of civil rights, human rights, the environment and religious freedom was either brought by attorneys whose careers and skills were shaped by their experiences as NIF Civil Liberties Law Fellows, or by NIF-supported organizations where they carried out their fellowships.

3. Fifty-Six Women Freed From “Chained” Marriages

Batya Kahane-Dror - 2018 TrailblazerMavoi Satum has successfully freed 56 women from “chained” marriages this year! Even in the “Year of Woman,” Israeli law gives any secular man the ability to file for divorce in religious courts where women have no right to divorce. With every single woman who is able to move on with her life, a victory is won.

(Learn more about Mavoi Satum’s Batya Kahana-Dror, one of our four featured trailblazers.)

4. One Billion Shekels for East Jerusalem Public Services

Nisreen Alyan - 2018 TrailblazerThis year, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Ir Amim won big victories for public services in East Jerusalem: 1.1 billion shekels and three court victories will increase public services in East Jerusalem. These outstanding victories are working towards the ability of Palestinian residents to live equal lives to Jewish residents on the western side of the city.

(Learn more about ACRI’s Nasreen, one of our four featured trailblazers.)

5. Nearly Nine Thousand Units of New Housing for Palestinian Citizens

This year, the Arab Center Alternative Planning achieved a whopping 8,891 new units of housing approved for Palestinian citizens — and more slated for the future. Since Israel’s birth, as public authorities built many new Jewish cities and neighborhoods, Palestinians have been authorized to build very few. This year’s modest victory helps towards closing the housing inequality between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

6. Sixteen Global Fellows From Around the World

Sixteen young leaders from around the world are Naomi Chazan Fellows this year. These activists in their 20s and 30s from Canada, the UK, the US, and Australia represent a new generation of Jewish leaders’ commitment to social justice in Israel. Already just halfway through their year-long commitment, our Canadian fellows have jump-started a vibrant community of young people in Toronto.

(Learn more about our four amazing fellows.)

Naomi Chazan Fellows 2018

7. Thirty Anti-Racism Projects in Jerusalem

This year, thirty participants from every racial and religious sector of Jerusalem completed thirty anti-racism projects as part of Shatil’s “Lowering the Walls” course. For example, Chef Ilan Garussi’s “Seal of Tolerance” is a sign displayed by Jerusalem eateries that commit to accepting all customers, regardless of race or religion. Each one of these thirty projects will play a small part in making Israeli society a more shared, welcoming place for all.

8. Five Hundred Teachers Trained in Democracy Education

One of NIFC’s two projects with ACRI over the past two years has been “Public Education for Human Rights and Democracy.” As polls show more and more young Israelis don’t believe in basic democratic principles, ACRI trains Israeli teachers to teach democracy to their students. This year, our project has already trained over 500 teachers at the University of Haifa, Tel Aviv University, Al-Qasemi College, Levinsky College of Education, and half a dozen other universities.

9. Twenty Leading TV News Shows Increase Arab Representation

This year, our project with Sikkuy has increased the number of Arab experts interviewed on Israel’s 20 leading television news programs to a rate of 4.7%. Year after year through this project, the nearly 20% of Israeli citizens who are Palestinian see more of themselves on Israeli news – a vital step for an Israel which every citizen feels part of.

(Learn more about Sikkuy’s Edan, one of our four featured trailblazers.)

And there are so many more stories to share…

These accomplishments are only possible because of the generosity of hundreds of our supporters here in Canada. Together, we are working with Israelis to grow an Israel that exemplifies democracy, equality, pluralism, and shared society.

What will we accomplish together in 2019?


Ben Murane
Executive Director

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