As 2020 comes to an end, a year of deep crisis across the world, we reflect on how it affects us all in profound ways. We know that this is a tough time for everyone. COVID has slowed down the rhythm of lives everywhere, but it has also exacerbated existing problems. The virus has revealed inequities and vulnerabilities in all of the societies and revealed a very real threat to democracy and social and economic inequality is only increasing.

In 2020 the New Israel Fund’s task to build a more just, more democratic, more equal society in Israel continued in this time of unprecedented challenges. With your support, we’ve achieved so much this year. With your support, we have empowered Israel’s change-makers and civil society leaders to defend the rights of minorities and fight injustices of all kinds. With your support, our projects on the ground in Israel continue to be productive and impactful.

I wanted to share with you this video by NIF Israel Director, Mickey Gitzin. The video was originally produced for NIF’s growing supporter base in Israel and tells the story of how NIF responded to the pandemic and the impact we have had. The video is in Hebrew with English subtitles.

The impact that Mickey explains NIF has been able to have is down to your support and that of thousands of others around the world – Israeli, Canadian, and others.

Together, we are standing guard to make sure that this terrible pandemic is not used as cover to advance an anti-democratic agenda. We are making sure that in this hour of crisis, no one is left out or left behind. Not on our watch. We will stand together, shoulder-to-shoulder, together we will continue to fight for a better Israel.

Here are just four stories from the projects we fund which demonstrate that support for NIFC is the best way to shape a more inclusive, equal and democratic Israel:

  • Our flagship partner, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), persuaded the Justice Minister to reopen the courts after emergency regulations were enacted to freeze activity on the eve of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s first corruption hearing.
  • Our partners ACRI and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel pushed the Israeli ambulance service to coordinate with Palestinian emergency services in order to assist COVID-19 patients from East Jerusalem, as well as to open clinics and testing centers in the Shuafat refugee camp and in Kufr Aqab, also on the other side of the barrier.
  • Zazim-Community Action successfully campaigned for the Ministry of Health to make critical information related to the coronavirus crisis available in Arabic.
  • For the first time in Israel’s history, a state-paid municipal chief rabbi will be prosecuted for racist incitement against Arab-Israelis and LGBTQ people thanks to a case brought by our partners ACRI, Tag Meir, and the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement (IRAC).

Thanks for all that you do.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy new year.
Ben Murane