From our Chief Executive

 

NIF was built as a partnership of shared values between Israelis and supporters of Israel worldwide. Nevermore so than the last few weeks has the strength of this values-based partnership been shown.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who joined us earlier this month for our Human Rights Awards Dinner at Home. It was a huge success and holding the event digitally – whilst missing our ability to gather together as a community to celebrate – did bring in a larger more diverse audience to hear about the stories of our winners and become partners in our values-based mission.

I am sure like me, many of you have turned your head West in recent weeks and been awed by the record levels of civic engagement with the Presidential elections and are wondering what the political sea-change may mean for Israel and for the prospects of peace. We are delighted to have Sir Simon Schama and NIF President and leading Jewish history professor, David Myers sharing their analysis on 24th November at 8 pm. 

At the same time, turning East towards Israel we are also seeing a very profound struggle over values and direction. For over twenty consecutive weeks, a diverse and cacophonous pro-democracy movement – scores of thousands of Israelis of every stripe – has been on the streets. In front of the Prime Minister’s residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem and across the country, citizens have shifted the public debate – not only to the mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic, but to the implications for Israel’s democracy of a prime minister’s abuse of his own high office for personal and political gain. They are a voice of hope.

In a broader sense, these activists, sustained by a resilient infrastructure of civil society, and undeterred by water cannons and attempts to pass restrictive laws, have unearthed broader questions roiling under the surface of this moment – questions about the kind of country Israel wants to be, and whether all those who live under Israel’s domain have equal access to the rights of citizenship like freedom, dignity, and justice.

At the New Israel Fund, we know what kind of Israel we are fighting for. And we will be here – standing in partnership with Israeli civil society, to fight for democracy and for equality in Israel.

Adam Ognall,

Chief Executive, The New Israel Fund