NIF Crisis Action Plan
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world, it affects us all in profound ways. The virus has revealed inequities and vulnerabilities in all of the societies it has affected, including in Israel.
The New Israel Fund’s task during this public health emergency has been to see the big picture and line up all of the resources we can in order to help all Israelis make it through this crisis. Our immediate response was to launch our Crisis Action Plan.
As part of NIF’s Crisis Action Plan, Shatil’s Crisis Management Centre was launched in March to help civil society organisations adapt to the current crisis and plan for the long term. Between March and June 2020 Shatil supported :
We also allocated Emergency Grants to groups offering urgent aid to vulnerable populations including asylum seekers and Bedouin citizens living in unrecognized villages; to organisations upholding citizens’ freedom to protest and to call for equitable government assistance; and to initiatives – such as ones by Berl Katznelson Fund and the Alliance for Israel’s Future – working to ensure Israel emerges from the current crisis a more just and democratic state. In total NIF supported 32 organisations with emergency grants on COVID-19-realted initiatives. This included a Tag Meir project to deliver 4,000 facemasks during Passover to residents of the predominantly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, 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.
The work of our Northern Health Forum, today composed of 290 members including Jewish and Arab medical professionals, businesspeople, government officials, media experts, lawyers, and grassroots activists has been particularly crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April it registered a vital success by convincing the government to provide personal protective equipment to all ambulance crews in the Galilee. Its advocacy also led to the establishment of a new dialysis centre for COVID-19 patients. The Southern Health Forum mobilized to ensure their regional health needs we met including providing PPE for all ambulance crews and convincing the Ministry of Health to run Arabic-language campaigns on COVID safety for Bedouin populations, and the establishment of drive-through COVID testing facilities in Be’er Sheba.