Credit: Lior Segev

The professional and personal lives of Shatil’s Blog Editor Gali Bessudo intermingle these days. Gali is a resident of the southern city Sderot, but she and her family were evacuated from their home after October 7th, when many residents of Sderot were massacred by Hamas and others taken hostage.

Even though she is displaced, Gali continues to help civil society organizations in her role at Shatil. She and the Shatil knowledge-development staff provide support to organizations on the ground through  blog posts, videos, and podcasts. And NGOs are relying on Shatil more than ever right now—they are looking for knowledge, support, and guidance in a time of war, trauma, and devastation.

NGO leadership come to Shatil for help with management, and fundraising, but also smaller seeming things, like access to photos through Shatil’s ShatilStock photo database. In an effort to make these and more resources and knowledge easily accessible, Gali and her Shatil co-workers established a portal called “Civil Society in Wartime”. Inside the portal, NGO staffers and activists can find grant applications, a link to ShatilStock, guidelines for organizations on managing staff during an emergency, and hotlines for activists whose civil rights have been threatened. Shatil regularly updates the portal with new content, including their recent research paper on how civil society in other countries has responded in the past to similar national traumas (imagine 9/11 or the Russia-Ukraine war).

After Hamas’ attack, Gali’s community knew that their government had failed to protect them and wanted to know why. “Immediately following October 7th there was a deep need to understand what had happened and how it happened,” she said. “A tremendous amount of information was being exchanged, posts, articles, and op-eds—especially regarding horrendous military oversights and neglect, and hidden government agendas and maneuvers. I realized that if [exposing these truths] was to be of any use at all it needed to be concentrated in one place.”

Gali is also speaking out on behalf of her community. After the Israeli government called on southern evacuees to return to their homes, she took to the streets along with other evacuees to protest—they called on the government to resign and for immediate elections. On January 6th, Gali spoke to thousands of protesters in Tel Aviv: “We will only return home when we have confidence that we won’t have to run to the bomb shelter in the middle of the night, when our city ceases to be a battlefield, and our windows don’t explode to pieces,” she told the protesters. “We say to all government officials who are telling us to return home: ‘You go home and think about how to restore our faith in you once you have taken care of [returning] the hostages, when you have a political [negotiation] process in place; and when you have taken responsibility to rebuild all that you destroyed.’”