We ensured low income and other vulnerable population groups received additional help support and could continue to access services and support
Providing direct support
NIF supported numerous of our groups who were providing urgent aid. This included a Tag Meir project to deliver 4,000 facemasks during Passover to residents of the predominantly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak and 170 food baskets to East Jerusalem families in need, funding for Ba’asher Telchi which helped ultra-Orthodox single mothers to purchase food and board games during lockdown and the 24 member forum headed by Rabbis for Human Rights which ensured that 11,000 families continued to get state food packages. Local chapters of Omdim Beyachad cooperated to raise money for and distribute food baskets and, in cooperation with Ahoti, coordinated daily distribution of food and medicine in South Tel-Aviv/Jaffa. NIF funded the distribution of more than 3,400 food baskets to Negev residents in need.
Protecting rights and access to services.
Following a government decision to allow employers to lay off without restrictions pregnant women or those on maternity leave, women’s and human rights organizations, including ACRI, Itach-Maaki, Adalah, IWN, and others petitioned the Supreme Court. Soon after, the government rescinded the decision, but not before thousands of women lost their jobs. Adalah’s subsequent petition to the court resulted in an order requiring the government and Knesset to find a solution for those women, which includes allowing them to appeal their dismissal.
A coalition of our organisations also worked on accessibility for Arab communities. From securing a decision to upgrade communications infrastructure in “recognized” Negev Bedouin villages and a commitment to connect the “unrecognized” villages to the network; offer Arabic accessibility at Post Office Bank branches (where many withdraw pension funds and allowances with bank branches closed); provide real-time translation into Arabic of the main evening news; and inform Arab local authorities and citizens about the stream of emergency regulations and their implications for Arab communities.
Advocating for Just Policies
The Berl Katznelson Foundation (BKF) and other NIF-funded groups advocated for a just and equitable economic policy in the aftermath of the pandemic and coordinated campaigns calling for a broader socio-economic safety-net for all residents of Israel.
For instance research in November 2020 by BKF found that Israelis under 28-years-old have been hit hardest by the economic fallout, including by unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
80% of those surveyed reported economic effects from the crisis with a 45% increase on those relying on financial support from parents.
Young people are doubly impacted. First, because their lives are based on casual employment with no job security. This was the work that was the first to close down at the start of the crisis. Second, because state support is based on age criteria that are blind to need. Young people below 28 are not entitled to the same unemployment benefits as people over 28.