New Israel Fund Australia's board

Supporters of the New Israel Fund know us for our consistent efforts to help Israel realise the values of its Declaration of Independence, as a democracy that strives for equality for all its citizens.

In recent times we have seen some signs of hope and some concerning challenges in Israel. We saw the first changes in Israeli political leadership in 12 years, but equally we have witnessed the eruption of violence between Jews and Palestinians, the increasing tensions between religious and non-religious Jews in Israel and the continuing socio-economic difficulties of the pandemic.

Whatever the situation, our presence on the ground in Israel is more important than ever, and Australian supporters of NIF should feel proud to be making an impact like never before.

Particularly important was the funding of a series of quick response, strategic grants to shared society projects which secured Jewish-Arab partnership in the wake of inter-community violence in May 2021. NIF’s global efforts established a 1 million shekel fund and supported more than 20 projects to have a tangible, lasting impact to advance shared society.

Locally, we made sure our values were front-and-centre during the worst of the fighting, reflecting not just on the crisis inside Israel, but also the broader conflict which raged in East Jerusalem and Gaza. We reflected your voice as concerned, progressive Australian Jews with our message being featured on the ABC TV and radio, SBS, the Guardian, at and in Jewish media to make sure a nuanced and justice-focused perspective was shared with the Australian public.

In 2021 we celebrated 10 years since NIF’s establishment in Australia. In that time you have helped us build an extraordinary community of thousands of supporters, donors and allies. Today, NIF is one of the Jewish community’s most significant voices on progressive values here and in Israel.

In this annual review we have highlighted for you some of the most important points of impact over the last year, as well as the great strides we’ve made in the last decade.

I also wish to give my heartfelt thanks to our chair for almost seven years, Ilana Snyder. Under Ilana’s leadership, NIF Australia has gone from strength to strength, both in Australia and as part of NIF’s worldwide family. Her tireless efforts on behalf of NIF, together with her encouragement of and engagement with our staff, board and donors have left an important legacy.

We are also sad to say goodbye to two board members, Ely Elsass and Melissa Castan. Ely served on the board for five years. Her expertise in marketing and PR were most beneficial to our work. We will also miss Melissa Castan, who has been a member of the board for four years. She has always been willing to listen first before giving advice. Melissa has been a significant contributor across all aspects of our work to bring about a more just and equal Israel.

I thank the members of our board whose commitment to all that we do is invaluable and the members of our Advisory Council who continue to support NIF Australia in significant ways.

Finally, I’m grateful for your continued support and partnership as we look to the next 10 years of NIF Australia - where we will further increase our impact and continue to nurture innovative ways to shape both Israeli society and our own community.

Thanks for all that you do,

Ric Benjamin
Chairperson, New Israel Fund Australia

NIF Australia, est. 2011

While we couldn’t bring our supporters together to celebrate our 10th anniversary the way we would have liked – another year of Covid got in the way — 250 of us were able to join a celebration of our achievements. Over the last decade we’ve made an impact on the ground in Israel through partnerships with social justice and human rights activists, and become one of the community’s most important voices on Israel and Jewish issues.

$4.4m in Grants in 10 Years

NIF’s core mission is to support grassroots civil society and shape a more just, equal and democratic Israel. Over the last decade, we’ve done that to the tune of $4.4 million, a remarkable achievement. Thanks to our community, asylum seekers are no longer sent to detention centres, the police have shifted their approach to the Ethiopian community and other people of colour, and we’re achieving real results for Bedouin the Negev fighting for access to education and healthcare.

Our Impact

With your partnership and support, NIF Australia has invested more than $4 million in Israeli civil society over the last decade.

More than 30 projects have received our support – some of them start-ups using innovative techniques to progress social change, while others are veteran organisations who form the bedrock of our movement.

In this video we profile four of the organisations we’ve supported in the last 10 years.

Our Vision

Let’s look forward to 2040. What kind of Israeli society have we been able to shape?

In this video for NIF Australia’s 10th anniversary, produced by renowned Israeli filmmakers the Heymann Brothers (Mr Gaga, Bridge Over The Wadi), some of Israel’s most prominent social change activists preview the society they’re trying to create.

The end of injustice, a truly shared Jewish-Arab society, complete gender equality; this is the future we’re working for.

A Crisis in Jewish-Arab Shared Society

Our future is shared, brighter, equal, shaped by all of us, undivided, together, just, pluralistic, collective.

When intercommunal violence tore apart Israeli cities last May, the global New Israel Fund community created the Voices of Hope campaign, raising 1 million NIS ($410,000) in just a few weeks, launching a call for projects that yielded over 800 proposals, and selecting twenty local initiatives that promote Arab-Jewish partnership.

NIF Australia fully funded three projects:

  • The launch of a joint Jewish-Arab social justice centre in Ramle. Being one of the main centres of violence, forging relationships between Jewish and Arab residents, and harnessing their shared political power to create change, will be transformative for the individuals involved and the wider community.
  • A support course for mixed medical teams in Israel’s north, promoting resilience and partnership between Jewish, Muslim and Christian health staff.
  • An economic and social investment initiative aimed at Bedouin tourism operators in the country’s south. A Jewish-Arab initiative, it will ensure the Bedouin community can be better integrated in Israel’s society and economy.

In The News

In a big year of news, NIF’s voices were prominent in Jewish and mainstream media.

Here are just a few examples:

Eminent Guests, Deep Conversations

NIF continued to be the go-to organisation for engaging and thought-provoking content in the Jewish community.

Our events included a discussion about Joe Biden’s foreign policy plans just as he was taking office, another with leading progressive politicians Adam Bandt and Tamar Zandberg, while journalists John Lyons, Dina Kraft and Anshel Pfeffer spoke about their experiences as foreign correspondents.

Our event with noted historians Sir Simon Schama and now US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt drew almost 1,000 people, while our 10th anniversary celebrations featured discussions with friends of NIF Australia like Senator Penny Wong and Naomi Chazan

Watch the events on YouTube »

10 Highlights From 10 Years

Naomi Chazan

We launched NIF Australia way back in 2011 with a visit from Naomi Chazan, a former deputy speaker of the Knesset and then global president of the New Israel Fund. She presented at the Sydney Opera House, the Wheeler Centre, at Glen Eira Town Hall and at Limmud Oz.

Her insight, leadership and charisma were the perfect way to begin a new chapter of engagement with Israel in Australia’s Jewish community.

Read “Lunch with Naomi Chazan” in the SMH »

Naomi Chazan Fellowship participants with NIF's Israel director Mickey Gitzin in Tel Aviv

In 2015 we launched the Naomi Chazan Fellowship, a training, capacity building and empowerment program for the next generation of Jewish community leadership. Since then, almost 30 participants have graduated from the global program. Joined by fellow alumni from NIF offices United States, Canada and England, they’ve led important conversations and shaped a more progressive vision of Israel inside the Jewish community.


In 2016 more than 500 people came to hear Achinoam Nini (Noa) perform her beautiful music and talk about her political activism.

She said: “Peace is what Israel needs... Zionism needs to be there to help Israel achieve peace, if this country is going to be strong... Let's work it out in the way that will strengthen this wonderful country that we've built. And in that sense, I'm proud to be a Zionist.”

Noa’s visit, a partnership with Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne, brought new audiences to the NIF community. Her positivity and enthusiasm were inspiring and left a deep mark on the Australian Jewish community.


More than 500 packed into Emanuel Synagogue in Sydney to hear New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman discuss the early days of the Trump administration, the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations and a sensible path forward.

Watch clips from Thomas Friedman's event »


We were proud to launch Kingdom of Olives and Ash, a collection of short stories written by globally renowned authors to shine a spotlight on the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Launching the book in Australia were contributors Assaf Gavron and Geraldine Brooks, as well as Avner Gvaryahu, executive director of Breaking the Silence.

Almost a thousand people came to hear our important conversations about how the occupation weighs heavily on Israeli democracy.

Watch Geraldine Brooks »

Sign from our grantee the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants

In March 2018, hundreds of members of the NIF Australia community wrote to Prime Minister Netanyahu urging him to stop the deportation of people seeking asylum in Israel. The letter said, “As Jews we are acutely aware of our own stories as refugees. We know far too well what happens when the world closes its doors to those forced to flee their homes.”

On the ground in Israel, thanks to the tireless work of NIF’s program partners on the ground, the Netanyahu government’s plans for mass deportation of asylum seekers was halted by the Supreme Court.

Tamar Zandberg

Tamar Zandberg, former leader of Israel's Meretz party, came to Australia to receive the Steven Glass Truth to Power Award. She was on the panel on Q&A, met with Mark Dreyfus, Penny Wong, Dave Sharma and other senior political leaders, spoke to more than 500 members of the community, and was the guest speaker at our New Gen Roundtable, bringing together 50 of the community’s brightest next generation leaders for a day of inspiration, activism and training.

Watch Tamar on Q&A »


In 2020, we mobilised the Jewish community against the Netanyahu government’s plans for wide scale annexation of the West Bank. 300 graduates of Jewish day schools and youth movements signed our open letter and NIF's video narrated by Mandy Patinkin was viewed 100,000 times around the world.

We were the only major Australian Jewish community voice to speak out against annexation with our executive director appearing in mainstream media outlets like ABC News, while NIF briefings resulted in strong statements from the Coalition government, Labor opposition and the Australian Greens.


NIF was a proud partner of Hatikvah, the progressive Zionist slate running for the World Zionist Council elections in 2019.

Together with Ameinu, Meretz, Habonim Dror and Hashomer Hatzair, we won two seats at the Congress, a result which ensured strong representation in a body which will allocate more than $7 billion over the court of the next term.


During the Covid pandemic, almost a thousand people attended our virtual tours, ensuring our community stayed connected with what was happening on the ground even while we wouldn’t travel. We toured Hebron with Breaking the Silence, unrecognised villages in the Negev, the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Musrara with Israeli Black Panthers founder Reuben Avergil and more.

Watch the Virtual Tours on YouTube »

Impact in 2021

A refugee family in Tel Aviv
Expanding Access to Education

The government has long denied the children of asylum seekers and migrant workers access to kindergarten in Petah Tikva. But thanks to a petition by our flagship grantee, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and ASSAF - Aid Organization for Refugees & Asylum Seekers in Israel many of these children received kindergarten placements for the 2021-2022 school year.

A protestor holds a sign reading 'End the Occupation'
Combating Settler Violence and the Occupation

As the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories nears its 55th anniversary, NIF and our grantees continue to keep the occupation on the public agenda and to work to protect the rights of Palestinians living under Israeli rule in the West Bank. In 2021, NIF provided an emergency grant to Haqel: In Defense of Human Rights to operate a 24/7 hotline for residents of the South Hebron Hills, who have been subjected to intensified settler violence.

A service at the Kotel (Western Wall)
Championing Religious Pluralism

For more than 15 years, NIF grantee the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) was locked in a legal battle against Orthodox control over who qualifies as a Jew for the purpose of citizenship. The High Court finally sided with IRAC, ruling in March 2021 that conversions by the Reform and Conservative Movements in Israel qualify Jews by choice to receive oleh (immigrant) status and Israeli citizenship, in accordance with the Law of Return. IRAC is working to ensure that the Interior Ministry does indeed comply with the ruling and grants citizenship to these applicants.

Residents of a Bedouin village watching their homes being demolished by the Israeli government
Fighting for Recognition and Services for Negev Bedouin

After years of work led by NIF grantees the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages and Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights, the Israeli government agreed to recognise three Bedouin villages: Rahme, Hashem Zaneh, and Abde. The change means that more than 4,000 residents will no longer be denied access to basic services like electricity and running water, have better access to schools and health clinics, and no longer live under the threat of home demolition and expulsion.

Our Grants in 2021

NIF Australia distributed $447,676 in grants to registered Israeli not-for-profit organisations, fulfilling our mission to promote freedom, equality and pluralism in Israel. Since 2011, we have distributed $4,468,623 to grantees like the ones below.


2021 Grant

Conducts litigation by and for Arab citizens of Israel to ensure the rights of this community. Read more »
African Refugee Development Center
Providing humanitarian aid, supplies and daily necessities to people seeking asylum and refugees during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more »
Providing humanitarian aid, supplies and daily necessities to people seeking asylum and refugees during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more »
Association for Civil Rights in Israel – East Jerusalem/occupied Palestinian territories project
Fighting poverty and struggling for equal access to education for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories. Read more »
Association for Civil Rights in Israel – public hotline project
Israel's largest and oldest civil rights organisation, they safeguarding equality through precedent-setting litigation. Read more »
Association of Ethiopian Jews
One of Israel's leading organisations promoting equality and justice for Ethiopian Israelis, they run critical legal cases, provide education and employment training and much more. Read more »
Atid Bamidbar
Part of NIF's Voices of Hope grants in the aftermath of the violence between Jewish and Arab Israelis in May 2021, this project will develop Bedouin tourism in the Negev in order to address the inequality between Jewish and Bedouin residents Read more »
Bait la-Ruach
Part of NIF's Voices of Hope grants in the aftermath of the violence between Jewish and Arab Israelis in May 2021, this project sends Jewish and Arab counsellors to workers in the health sector – doctors, nurses, clinic staff and aged care homes – to address the stress associated with the violence and develop a program to support staff from all backgrounds Read more »
Spatial and town planning expertise inside Israel and in Area C of the West Bank to ensure Palestinian villages aren't denied electricity, water and education resources by the Israeli government. Read more »
Combating cases of discrimination felt by people with a disability in Israel. Read more »
Community House (Elifelet)
Building a shared work space for organisations working with refugees and people seeking asylum in Israel. This grant is fully funded by the Victor Smorgon Charitable Fund. Read more »
Addressing the ongoing food insecurity crisis among refugees and people seeking asylum, Elifelet is distributing food and material aid to families and communities across Israel. Read more »
Gisha - Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement
A unique approach helping residents of Gaza travel for crucial medical care, education and professional advancement. Read more »
Givat Haviva: Jewish-Arab Center for Peace
This emergency grant to Givat Haviva funded crisis accommodation to families in Ashkelon fleeing rockets during the May 2021 escalation of violence. Read more »


2021 Grant

Providing free legal aid to Palestinians in the occupied territories to access their rights in a wide range of areas, including freedom of movement, residency and social rights, the right to family life and property, and protections for minors in detention. Read more »
Hand in Hand
A network of schools in Israel building shared society, demonstrating an important model of inclusion and partnership for Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Read more »
Haqel: Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights
This emergency grant to Haqel allows them to offer legal advice and case management support for 5,000 residents of the South Hebron Hills who have suffered from an uptick in settler violence in recent months. They provide an emergency hotline to provide immediate legal advice and are taking on strategic cases to liaise with the military and police to improve the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank. Read more »
Hashomer Hatzair Israel / Tzedek Justice Centres
Part of NIF's Voices of Hope grants in the aftermath of the violence between Jewish and Arab Israelis in May 2021, this project will establish a Jewish-Arab activism centre in Lod, one of the centres of the violence. The centre will run leadership courses for young activists in the city and provide the skills, knowledge and networks required to rebuild shared society Read more »
Hotline for Refugees and Migrants
Protects people seeking asylum, refugees, migrant workers and victims of human trafficking in Israel, ensuring they aren't deported or detained unfairly, and have access to basic government services. Read more »
Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC)
Defending religious freedom and pluralism, and ensuring equal treatment of all streams of Judaism. Read more »
Israel Religious Action Centre – Racism Crisis Centre project
Combating the racism and discrimination felt by Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Ethiopian community, people seeking asylum, Russian immigrants and the LGBT community. Read more »
Meaning 'crochet' in Tigrinya, Kuchinate is a collective of African asylum-seeking women living in Tel Aviv. The funding promotes social enterprise and serves as an effective tool to improve socio-economic outcomes for the community Read more »
Mesila - Treatment for Families of Migrant Workers and Asylum Seekers (Tel Aviv Foundation)
In partnership with the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, Mesila is developing "The Fresh Place", a choice model food bank in South Tel Aviv which will provide the community a central and stable location to access nutritious foods and increase nutrition education and awareness. Read more »
(This was matched by the Tel Aviv Foundation for a total grant of $54,000.)
Physicians for Human Rights
Medical care for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza through clinics and visits, bringing expertise otherwise not found in the occupied Palestinian territories, and running an open clinic for migrant workers and refugees inside Israel. Read more »
Advancing the rights of Israel's Ethiopian communities through legal advocacy and training. Read more »
Women Against Violence (Nazareth)
Providing assistance for Palestinian women in Israel's north in the form of rape crisis centres, domestic violence support and more. Read more »
Yesh Din
Seeks to protect human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories by conducting legal advocacy and protecting Palestinians against violence from settlers. Read more »

Financial Statements

Comprehensive Income Statement

Revenue 2021 2020
Charitable income and fundraising $660,991 $944,176
Dividends/investments $21,997 $0
Interest $2,789 $6,353
Other income $31,154 $84,272
Total $716,932 $1,034,801
Expenses 2021 2020
Grants to Israel $447,642 $460,425
Education and engagement $16,417 $25,385
Naomi Chazan Fellowship $0 $72
Communications $4,390 $4,200
Audit, legal and consulting $878 $815
Employee benefits expense $257,043 $200,400
Other expenses $54,807 $30,359
Total $781,176 $721,657
Surplus ($64,244) $313,144

Our Expenses


Balance Sheet

Assets 2021 2020
Current assets $272,374 $1,055,662
Non-current assets $694,416 $0
Total assets $966,790 $1,055,662
Liabilities 2021 2020
Current liabilities $34,945 $59,572
Total liabilities $34,945 $59,572
Net assets $931,846 $996,090
Equity 2021 2020
Retained surplus $931,846 $996,090
Total equity $931,846 $996,090