We’re a community of Israelis and Diaspora Jews committed to a vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. We promote freedom, equality and pluralism in Israel by funding projects and hosting events, movies and other opportunities for Australian Jews to engage with Israel.
With your support, we engaged more people than ever in our work defending democracy in Israel and exceeded our fundraising expectations. 2017 brought many challenges for Israeli society as voices from the ultra-right became louder. Yet, despite the mounting attacks, we saw inspiring examples of action for social change from our grantees, helped by your support. This report outlines some examples of what we have accomplished in changing the social landscape in Israel. We don’t do this work alone and our partners in Israel don’t do this work alone. We rely on you for all that we do. Thank you for your commitment.
Turbulent times in the Middle East make NIF’s work more important than ever. While both Israeli and Palestinian political leadership show little interest in resolving the conflict, even more emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring equality for Jews and Palestinians, promoting a mutually beneficial shared society and working with diverse groups of Israelis, such as people seeking asylum, Jews from Ethiopia and LGBT Israelis to promote inclusion and tolerance. Australian Jews have long fought for social justice and human rights, and NIF has become the community’s main home for that cause when it comes to Israel. Thank you for being part of our journey and work.
Our seed funding for the Israel Religious Action Centre’s Racism Crisis Centre (RCC) provides a go-to point for Israelis who have experienced discrimination and racism. Launched in 2017, the RCC supports victims by providing representation in the legal system and case management in dealing with Israel’s complex bureaucracy.
Providing support in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Amharic and English, their hotline documents incidents, provides its own support and also refers victims to other services including trauma counselling.
The ad (above) was run as a public service message on Channel 10, the second largest television station in the country.
There are few more important issues in Israel that the crisis continuing to face people seeking asylum and refugees in Israel. Having escaped from some of the world’s most despotic countries, these people have sought safety in Israel, a country founded by, and for, refugees.
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants stands at the front line of the battle for security, safety and legal certainty. In 2017, they served 1,672 people, litigated 62 cases in court, visited immigration detention centres 64 times to provide case management support, and had 126 people seeking asylum released from detention.
The work, however, is ongoing. Despite a landmark ruling at the end of 2017 declaring the government must close the Holot detention centre, 2018 began with a government announcement of forced deportations back to Africa, followed by a number of twists and turns in government policy, and even more uncertainty. We’re continuing to support the Hotline as they navigate this difficult issue.
Unfortunately, every society struggles with racism – Israel is no different.
Tmura is a unique legal clinic in that they use tort law as a tool to bring rectify injustice and discrimination.
Fighting a dozen cases at any time, Tmura focuses on helping individuals in marginalised groups – including Mizrahi Jews, Israelis of Ethiopian origin, and women who have experienced economic and domestic violence – access justice and compensation after they have experienced discrimination. Incredibly, Tmura has a 100% success record in the cases it takes on.
In one case, Tmura, together with the Equal Opportunity Commission, brought a suit against an aged care facility which had refused to hire a Palestinian citizen of Israel. It has also worked with 15 public housing tenants who had their tenancy rights infringed on. They also run training sessions for public housing tenants to help them manage their finances, stay out of debt, and understand their rights and responsibilities in public housing.
Jerusalem might seem like a united city, but in reality it’s anything but. In truth, Palestinians in East Jerusalem live very different lives to Jewish residents in West Jerusalem. Our funding for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) goes towards rectifying inequality in the city.
ACRI works on behalf of the city’s Palestinian residents, some 300,000 people, to fight for core government services, like health care clinics, classrooms for primary school children, roads and an adequate supply of water.
A political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may seem distant, so in the meantime ACRI’s work is crucial in ensuring more equitable outcomes for all of Jerusalem’s residents.
More than 500 people came to hear Achinoam Nini (Noa) perform her beautiful music and talk about her political activism.
“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.
We screened Israeli film The Settlers for more than 500 people in Sydney and Melbourne:
On ABC's Q&A program, visiting Member of Knesset Merav Michaeli and Labor MP Mark Dreyfus discussed attacks on Israeli civil society organisations:
We sent our third cohort of future leaders on our Naomi Chazan Fellowship program in 2017.
The Fellowship group initiated a dozen programs, including the photo exhibition "Division and Unity", an op-ed for the Australian Jewish News, "The struggle for social justice in Israel", and a number of movie screenings and programs for Zionist youth movements.
With 15 program alumni, NIF will continue to engage the next generation of Jewish community leadership in both our programs in Australia, and the projects we are funding in Israel.
The Naomi Chazan Fellowship equips young leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to enrich their understanding of Israel and empowers them to raise awareness around issues of importance in the local Australian Jewish community.
The Fellowship includes a ten-day study tour in Israel with young leaders from the UK, Canada and the US, three seminars in Australia and opportunities to develop local programming which help broaden the communal conversation.
We are extremely grateful that, acknowledging Kerryn Baker's commitment to equality and justice in Israel and the enrichment of the next generation of community leadership, two of our Naomi Chazan Fellows are subsidised in honour of Kerryn's legacy.Learn More About the Fellowship
More than 500 people attended our event with New York Times columnist and three time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman in SydneyView Photos & Videos
NIF Australia distributed the following grants to Israeli not-for-profit organisations, fulfilling our mission to promote freedom, equality and pluralism in Israel:
|Association for Civil Rights in Israel
–East Jerusalem project
|Hotline for Refugees and Migrants||$11,000|
|Israel Religious Action Centre
–Racism Crisis Centre project
Due to an adjustment in NIF Australia’s grant making policy, grants are now made a year in arrears, rather than in the same calendar year. For example, funds raised in 2017 will now be remitted in 2018. This has resulted in fewer grants made in 2017, given the funds will be spent in 2018.
|Grants to Israel 1, 2||$211,700||$253,748|
|Education and engagement||$204,704||$111,949|
|Naomi Chazan Fellowship||$44,898||n/a|
|Fundraising and administration expenses||$12,575||$34,277|
|Administration, audit and legal, and other expenses||$35,932||$55,285|
We continue to be grateful to two generous donors who cover most of our local costs.