Reflections from Itach Ma’aki

 

We hope that those of you who were able to join us found our briefing with Itach Ma’aki as insightful and powerful as we did. We were honoured to be joined by Hazar and Dana as they led us through their work bringing together Jewish and Palestinian women to promote social justice across Israel.If you weren’t able to join us, you can find some of the key takeaways from the events below.You can find out more about Itach Ma’aki here.And support Itach Ma’aki and all of NIF’s grantees today here.

 

Our reflections

Who are Itach Ma’aki?Itach and Ma’aki translate to “With You” in Hebrew and Arabic respectively. Founded in 2001, Itach Ma’aki bring together Jewish and Palestinian Israeli Lawyers to promote social justice, especially the rights of women in Israel. Their work is focused on both Palestinian and Jewish communities across the country.“Imagine a safe city…that allows us to be who we are. Safely. Everywhere.”Perhaps Itach Ma’aki‘s most prominant project is their City for All programme, which works to make change in local governments across Israel.Despite the fact that every local authority in Israel is supposed to have an advisor on gender equality to hold them to account, many of these roles are unfilled or simply powerless. Itach Ma’aki works to give these advisors the agency and tools they need to make gender equalty a reality at all levels of government.City for All is currently working in Haifa, Acco, Taybeh, and Rishon L’Tzion.Find out more about City for All here.UN Resolution 1325In 2000, the United Nations passed a resolution that urged “all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts”. The implementation of this resolution has been slow in Israel, but Itach Ma’aki have a plan to speed it up.By working with a coalition of NIF grantees, Itach Ma’aki have petitioned the supreme court to bring Palestinian women into the peace process, and are promoting its importance across Israeli society.Itach Ma’aki are also bringing women into the national response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Find out more about their response to Covid here.“I believe that we need to be brave if we want to make real change”Hazar Alhadi and Dana Myrtenbaum are just two of the many leaders in Itach Ma’aki working to make true gender equality a reality across Israeli society. By both standing up to and working with those in power, they have created real, lasting change for women of every ethnicity, religion, and region of Israel.We are proud to continue to support Itach Ma’aki, and many other grantees working to bring about true gender equality across Israeli society.

 

Our Speakers

Hazar AlhadiCo-Chair of Itach Ma’akiAdvocate Hazar Alhadi is a Palestinian woman raised in the town of Taybeh and co-chair of the board of Itach Ma’aki, Women Lawyers for Social Justice. Hazar was called to the Israeli Bar in 2008. She has been a long-time advocate and activist for the Arab Palestinian minority in Israel and with a particular focus on women’s rights. She has worked as an advocate for women’s rights at a number of leading organizations, including at Itach Ma’aki as a staff lawyer.Hazar is a founder and former board member of Tishreen, a community organization working to advance the status of women and youth in Taybeh. In addition, Hazar is a co-founder of “Nahnu” as a feminist and political movement, which worked to increase the participation of Taybeh’s women in the municipality and called on local parties to encourage women to stand for local election and ensure women were included on their election lists.In 2013, Hazar volunteered as a regional coordinator on behalf of Tishreen to take part in a coalition along with other NGOs in Israel, funded by the NIF. The goal of the coalition was to increase and encourage the participation of Arab women in the upcoming local municipal elections. Hazar initiated a round table with the press to engage them to cover this issue in the media. In addition, initiated two round tables with local NGOs, Arab women candidates and activists. The work that she did encouraged women to take an active part in municipal affairs, either by voting or by running themselves. Hazar is also a former board member of the Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Centre for Arab Citizens.

 

Dana MyrtenbaumLawyer at Itach Ma’akiDana Myrtenbaum is an Israeli public interest lawyer and social innovator. For more than 20 years, Dana has designed innovative programs that give voice to the needs of marginalized citizens and to Jewish and Arab women. As the founder and director of the “City for All” Program at Itach– Ma’aki, she currently promotes Gender Mainstreaming within Israeli local governments’ plans and actions. Since 2017, she has implemented the program in the cities Rishon LeZion, Tayibe, Akko and Haifa and since 2021 she leads “Safe in Matte Asher”-a collective impact to prevent gender-based violence in Matte Asher regional authority. In previous years, Dana had founded the Legal Leaders Program at the Haifa University Law Faculty, (2004-2014) which was later replicated nationally as a model for legal activism interfacing academia with the community.She also established The National Program for Young Women at risk (13-25), and developed a new policy that recognizes and meets the needs of young at-risk women and men in housing regulations. The resulting policy change added $500,000 USD to the annual budget of the Israeli Ministry of Social Services (2015). Dana is a 2003-2004 New Israel Fund Legal Leadership Fellow. She received her Masters in Law from the American University, Washington College of Law (2004), and her Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2017).