reflections from my trip to Israel with Dame Margaret Hodge MP
I recently returned from a visit to Israel where I was joined by Dame Margaret Hodge MP.I had the privilege of introducing Margaret to some of the leading civil society organisations and activists at the forefront of NIF’s work – defending democracy for a just, safe and equal Israel. The resounding message from every person I spoke with –directors of NGO’s, political leaders, and activists – is that the Jewish community and supporters of Israel in the UK cannot remain silent.
As Director of Development at NIF I am informed about events and developments in Israel, but it is not until you are there, that you feel the physical dread of the violent and aggressive agenda of this new government. There will likely be more devastating loss of life, as we saw with the two young Jewish brothers murdered by Palestinian terrorists and in the harrowing and shocking attacks that followed against Palestinians in Hawara whose houses were set alight as families slept in their homes if government ministers continue to condone violent rampages instead of de-escalating the situation.
The tensions are palpable and at constant threat of eruption.Perhaps the most confronting experience on my recent trip was speaking to the families in East Jerusalem, whose imminent threat of eviction is underscored by Security Minister Ben Gvir’s placing of his makeshift gazebo ‘office’ directly in front of their house. Margaret and I joined Israelis outraged by this government’s agenda at their weekly Friday demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian families. It is in these moments that outrage turns into a need to take action. This is the same outrage we are witnessing in the demonstrations sweeping the country, where hundreds of thousands of Israelis are aghast at the ‘reforms’ proposed by the government. Standing by their side gave me hope. NIF’s emergency response gives me hope.
Our emergency grants are enabling the push back against the government’s assaults on the judiciary, and the rights of women, LGBTQ+ people and minorities; they are providing the resources needed to protect education and keep sexism and racism out of Israeli classrooms; and funding the campaigns and grassroots organisations that have mobilised hundreds of thousands of Israelis to take to the streets in defence of democracy.
Our priority now at NIF is to grow our emergency grants so we can support more organisations at the forefront of the defence for Israel’s democracy.You can join me in finding hope and taking action:
We cannot afford to stay silent. You can act now.
Thank you in advance for your support.Adiva Kestenbaum Kalms Director of Development New Israel Fund UK
For a fuller summary on the current escalation in violence see update from NIF Australia’s Executive Director, Liam Getreu, interviewed today on ABC News, by clicking here.
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