We stood up for women – Jewish and Arab – who faced violence, funding hotlines and ensuring shelters stayed open.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, a test conducted by the Ministry of Welfare revealed that the number of referrals to treatment centres for domestic violence increased by 25% -30% and 25 women have been murdered in Israel during the pandemic.
NIF and our grantees have been advocating for women’s rights during the pandemic. Itach-Maaki: Women Lawyers for Social Justice and others petitioned the Supreme Court, prompting the Ministry of Interior to add advisers on the status of women and gender equality to the list of “essential workers” during the health crisis. Following advocacy by women’s organisations, including the Israel Women’s Network, in the face of a dramatic increase in domestic violence, for the first time in 15 years the government authorized the opening of a new shelter for survivors of domestic violence, able to accommodate women in quarantine.
IWN together with Women Against Violence and with other Jewish and Palestinian women’s organisations they have created a joint digital campaign to raise public awareness about the increased risk of violence against women during COVID-19 and urging the government and local decision makers to implement policies to protect women.
In addition to that, thousands of Israelis attended a demonstration last June to protest violence against women. The demonstration was organized by a coalition of women’s groups including NIF grantee the Israel Women’s Network (IWN).
The protestors’ message was clear: future murders of women are not inevitable and can be prevented. The protestors gathered in Charles Clore Park on Tel Aviv’s beachfront and demanded that the $30.7 million that the government promised to devote to combating violence against women –
Following the nation-wide protest against gender-based violence organised by Women Against Violence (WAV), the Knesset Finance Committee approved the allocation of NIS 100 million ($30.7 million) for a national plan to combat violence against women and the Social Affairs Ministry announced that it will remove abusive men from their homes and house them in hotels, a policy never adopted before.
When we talk in the present crisis about people sheltering safely at home, we must remember that there are women who are not safe at home. The virus called ‘violence against women’ has solutions that the government holds. We demand what we deserve and we demand our safety.
This year we were proud to announce IWN and WAV as our winners at our HRAD at home 2020. Those are two exceptional organisations promoting women’s rights and empowerment in the Jewish and Arab population in Israel. During this current crisis they worked together to fight the sharp rise of domestic violence during the lockdown, and fronted a rapid and coordinated response.
Watch the inspiring film we have created for our winners – Israel Women’s Network (IWN) and Women Against Violence (WAV):
Protecting Pregnant Workers
Thanks to pressure from NIF grantees, the Israeli cabinet has reversed a decision allowing pregnant women to be put on unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 crisis. The cabinet backtracked following petitions to the Supreme Court, which were filed by several Israeli human rights organisations, including many NIF grantees.
One petition was from the Forum of Employees Rights Organisations, which includes NIF grantees the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Kav LaOved – Worker’s Hotline, Itach-Maaki: Women Lawyers for Social Justice, and the Israel Women’s Network (IWN). A second petition against the regulation was filed by NIF grantee Adalah: The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights.
The Israeli Labor Law of 1954 states that an employer cannot fire a woman who is pregnant, undergoing fertility treatment, or on maternity leave. However, this law was suspended last month under emergency regulations due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.