You don’t hear from me too often so let me start by introducing myself. My name is Linda Hershkovitz and I am the President of NIFC’s Board of Directors. This is my second year as President, but I’ve been an NIFC donor for 18 years.
I grew up in downtown Toronto in an immigrant family that was both proudly Jewish and actively progressive – committed to social justice for all. I grew up believing that Jewish values and progressive values are one and the same. My parents’ commitment to social justice was not divorced from their love of Israel, nor was it checked at the door when they travelled there. Their Zionism was rooted in the principles of equality and human rights expressed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. They taught me that those principles were hard-won and not to be taken for granted, but rather needed to be fought for every single day. For that reason, I have been a supporter of the New Israel Fund for almost two decades – because the organizations and activists that NIF nurtures and supports are tireless defenders of that vision.
Four years ago, my husband and I joined in a study tour of Israel with NIFC to see for ourselves the work that represents the best of the values I care about. By the end of my trip, I was uplifted by the people I’d met from all walks of life, Jewish and Arab, secular and religious, gay and straight, women and men from so many different cultural backgrounds. These individuals and the organizations they work with, however diverse, are united in keeping alive the vision of an Israel that I think we all share (Interested in a study tour like I did? We’re planning one for September next year, so click here to request more information as soon as it’s available).
The work we do at NIFC would be impossible without you. Without you, our project partners can’t get funding, our activists don’t get support, and the diverse voices they represent don’t get heard. The groups and causes they fight for have been busy responding to new challenges: the pandemic, the civil violence in the wake of last spring’s conflict, ongoing social inequities, the many flashpoints related to the occupation and settlements. Without our support, their work suffers, and so does the state of democracy and human rights in Israel.
With your support, however, our partners in Israel are able to create real change.
Real change like what we saw in the July budget, with over 200 million dollars allocated to bettering the lives of Palestinian citizens of Israel, or the IDF’s announcement that they would stop the practice of invading Palestinian homes, or the united front against violence we saw in the streets last spring. These and many others would not have happened without the hard and persistent work of NIFC’s partners.
While there’s lots more to be done, I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together. Thank you for believing in a better, more equitable, more democratic Israel for everyone under its jurisdiction.
My very best,