Our Response to the Democracy Crisis

NIF’s emergency response has built a powerful shield to defend and empower Israeli democracy and civil society.

For those of us who care passionately about Israel, the democracy crisis was alarming. Extremist politicians have tried to fundamentally change the democratic nature of the country, attempting to undermine the judiciary, limit religious freedom, sideline women and diminish the rights of Palestinian citizens. We would not stay silent.

A better Israel is possible. 

NIF’s emergency response combined both immediate and long-term work. We:

  1. Dramatically increased our Emergency Grants
  2. Created a “Hub” that has supported and defended frontline activists and organisations
  3. Strengthened the infrastructure necessary to defend democracy and advance equality and justice in Israel

1) Growing our emergency grants 

Emergency grants are flexible, experimental and quick; they can help organisations and activists respond to critical developments in as little as 24 hours. Since the new government came to power, we have distributed over £1,200,000 to 58 organisations. 

This included a grant of £16,000 to Omdim Beyachad-Neqaf Ma’an and other civil society groups to fund the first of what have now become weekly mass protests in Israel, with hundreds of thousands of Israelis coming together in support of Israeli democracy. 


We’ve provided funding to ensure that racism and segregation have no place in Israeli state education, through the establishment of a ‘State Education Guard’ by the Berl Katznelson Center, supporting hundreds of parents and educators. 


And funded the legal support needed to stand up against incidents of settler violence and other tools used to intimidate the Palestinian community. 

2) Launching the Hub

Under this current government, there have been growing attempts to attack and threaten the ability of civil society organisations to operate. This includes legislation that’s aimed at crippling organisations’ finances, personal threats and digital abuse campaigns as well as the use of SLAPP suits designed to create a ‘chilling’ effect, silencing individuals and organisations from speaking out. 

The Hub was designed to provide comprehensive support to organisations and activists threatened by the government’s efforts to delegitimise their activities including legal representation, increasing organisational safety measures both physically and digitally as well as building institutional resilience.  The aim was to create the support network needed to ensure that civil society can focus on its mission of defending democracy for a just, safe and equal Israel

3) Saving democracy – strengthening for the future 

Alongside our urgent efforts to protect civil society and strengthen Israeli democracy, we have continued our ongoing work to develop the leaders, policies and movements necessary to build long-term change. 

Our grantees were among the leaders of the push-back against the government’s extremist agenda. Meanwhile, our operational arm Shatil, played a vital role by helping organisations map threats and navigate the rapidly changing landscape. 

Protecting and defending liberal democracy in Israel requires long-term investment in civil society infrastructure, and we committed significant funds towards this work.

Click here to read the full annual review.


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