New Israel Fund Schweiz
הקרן החדשה לישראל שוויץ

Englische Zusammenfassung der aktuellen Aktivitäten von NIF unterstützten Organisationen im Bereich Shared Society (Mai 2021)

Tag Meir – Light Tag Forum —Tag Meir is a coalition comprising over 50 groups from across the religious spectrum that works to combat hate crimes and racism by holding demonstrations, paying condolence visits to Jewish and Arab victims of violence and terror, and appealing to public figures and lawmakers to curb racist rhetoric. On April 25, the night of the hate march organized by Lehava, Tag Meir members patrolled parts of the city to protect Arab residents from Jewish extremists and have also expressed solidarity with Jewish residents of Jerusalem who were attacked by Palestinians. On Jerusalem Day, hundreds of Tag Meir activists held the group’s 7th annual Flower Parade and distributed flowers as a sign of peace to offset the Flag Parade. Tag Meir is planning additional marches calling for an end to the violence and for continued co-existence in mixed cities. Representatives from Tag Meir and the Abraham Initiatives visited Lod with Meretz lawmakers Ghaida Rinawe Zoabi and Mossi Raz. The delegation visited Jewish sites that had been torched in the riots and condemned the surge of violence. On May 19, Tag Meir and Women Wage Peace organized a human chain in Jerusalem in which hundreds of people called for peace and equality.

Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) – Racism Crisis Center The RCC was founded in 2017 to assist victims of racism to stand up for their legal rights and receive legal and psychological help. Before the recent violent conflicts in Jerusalem, IRAC wrote a letter to the police urging authorities to organize and mobilize forces to prevent violent clashes between extremist Lehava protesters and East Jerusalem Palestinians. IRAC also reached out to the media and lawmakers to make sure that the police make the required arrangements. As the protests unfolded, the RCC issued a call to any victims or witnesses of violence to reach out for assistance. IRAC also re-issued its petition to Twitter to suspend the accounts of Lehava (and Lehava head Bentzi Gopstein) in cooperation with the ADL.

IRAC is investigating a number of calls and messages from companies and small businesses seeking to replace Arab employees with Jewish Israelis. IRAC is following up on alleged instances, and reporting their findings to the national committee for equality in the workplace.


ShatilNIF’s action arm in Israel has created a Jewish-Arab Partnership Task Force to help respond to the current crisis. Comprising 10-15 key shared society organizations and activists, the task force will work together to promote legitimacy for Jewish-Arab political partnership and increase representation of Palestinian citizens of Israel in decision-making centers. The long-term goals of this task force include ensuring the presence of Palestinian-Israeli representatives in public discourse and achieving equal representation for Palestinian citizens of Israel among positions of influence.

Separately, on May 16, Shatil hosted a meeting for shared society and Israeli Palestinian society grantees. Thirty people representing around a dozen organizations attended. Participants discussed the importance of effective media work, and successful strategies for ensuring de-escalation are reported on in the media. Shatil is also providing a list of potential interviewees on shared society to the media -- Shatil put Aviv Tartarsky of Ir Amim in touch with the Jerusalem Post, leading to this piece on East Jerusalem

Shatil is also working to ensure that media coverage of the death of Mohammed Kiyan, a 17-year-old student from Umm al-Fahm who was fatally shot by undercover police, includes a portrait of the victim.  Shatil is working to get his family members on Hebrew-language news shows, and to push for humanizing reporting of his death at the hands of police.

Finally, Shatil, together with grassroots groups and the Welfare Ministry’s Community Work Service, initiated Ba’ot Betov, an effort to map and distribute information about local shared society initiatives throughout Israel. Shatil assisted in creating and distributing a mapping of such events and preparing messages for work with the media. The map gained over 500 followers within its first day.


FakeReporter FakeReporter, an initiative of the grassroots pro-democracy organization Mehazkim that was supported by an NIF emergency grant, revealed it had infiltrated far-right Whatsapp groups and informed the police of planned violence in Bat Yam on May 12. Despite the mayor also warning of a possible escalation, the police response was insufficient.  

FakeReporter successfully worked to have the extremist organizing group “Civilian Army – the Right Wing Response” banned from Telegram for incitement. Over the weekend of May 14-16, Fakereporter’s reporting led to the closure of dozens of Telegram and WhatsApp groups created specifically to organize violence. The organization’s work on infiltrating and reporting extremist groups was profiled by JTA and The New York Times.

The Abraham Initiatives – The organization that works to promote shared society and equality between Jews and Arabs in Israel called on political leaders, especially those in mixed cities across Israel, to do their utmost to calm tensions while at the same time allowing for non-violent protests, even large-scale ones, in their towns and cities. Arab and Jewish leaders, including more than a dozen council members from the cities of Lod, Acre, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Yafo, and Ramle, signed a statement calling for calm.

Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic EqualitySikkuy organized the heads of local authorities to sign a statement calling for calm, emphasizing the importance of safety for all residents, promoting tolerance, and shared society. Sikkuy facilitated such joint calls in Karmiel and Taybeh, as well as in the Sharon region including Hod Hasharon, Ra’anana, Kfar Saba, and Kafr Qassem.

Omdim Beyachad (Standing Together) – The Jewish-Arab grassroots group launched a petition to have Lehava banned as a hate group. It is also planning Jewish-Arab anti-war demonstrations in more than a dozen cities across Israel. Omdim Beyachad and Combatants for Peace are planning a Freedom March in Jerusalem for Friday, May 21. On May 22, it is organizing Arabs and Jews to come together in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to demand a ceasefire, an end to settlements and the occupation, and progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace.

An emergency funding was approved to support their mobilization efforts. On May 15 alone, Omdim Beyachad organized or supported over 40 pro-peace Jewish-Arab vigils and demonstrations across the country. On May 13, there were vigils and other activities in 27 different locations. The biggest vigils took place in: Jerusalem (400 participants), Tel Aviv (400 participants), Haifa (300 participants), and the Hemed junction near Jerusalem (1,500 participants). In addition, the organization gained many new followers on social media (1,000 new followers on Twitter within one day, and 3,000 new followers on Instagram – since the beginning of the week, most of them Palestinian Israelis).

The organization plans to organize similar vigils in dozens of locations (junctions and bridges all over the country) including three big events in mixed cities and central cities (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Haifa).

Ir Amim Ir Amim, which works to make Jerusalem a more equitable and sustainable city for Israeli and Palestinian residents, has been at the forefront of current efforts to quell the violence in the city. Ir Amim, along with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), submitted an urgent appeal to the Israel Police demanding that it remove the barricades at Damascus Gate, which it did on April 24, and desist from use of excessive force. Ir Amim also advocated directly with Knesset members from across the political spectrum to put pressure on the police, and has been educating the public about the situation through social media and webinars. Ir Amim also continues to monitor settlement expansion and organize public campaigns to increase opposition to such developments in Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah, Givat Hamatos, Mount of Olives, and elsewhere throughout East Jerusalem.

Emek Shaveh Emek Shaveh works to defend cultural heritage rights and to protect ancient sites that belong to members of all communities, faiths, and people in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel and the West Bank. As part of its work, the organization closely monitors the increasing Jewish settlement of parts of East Jerusalem, including near the Damascus Gate, which it calls “the central gateway for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to the Old City.” Against the backdrop of the latest violence, Emek Shaveh published an explainer about the history and importance of Damascus Gate for East Jerusalem Palestinians and about its centrality to a government plan to cement control over East Jerusalem.


Zazim -- Community Action launched a campaign calling for a disciplinary hearing for a Ra’anana school principal who participated in anti-Arab violence in Lod.


I’lam Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel – an emergency funding was approved to hire a PR professional and a Palestinian-Israeli journalist to work with him for I'lam- Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, in concert with the Citizens’ HQ and Sikkuy, and in coordination with the Arab Society Situation Room. The goal is to influence the media coverage of the current round of fighting and violence and to increase the number of Palestinian-Israeli interviewees who can convey the importance of shared society.

Under its director Kholod Masalha, I’lam coordinates efforts to influence the Hebrew media’s coverage of Palestinian society in Israel and to ensure that Palestinian-Israeli voices are heard in support of a shared society. To this end, I’lam cooperates with the Citizens’ HQ and Sikkuy, as well as with the Arab Society Situation Room (the newly established forum of the major Palestinian-Israeli organizations).

To increase the scale of their activity, the three organizations (I’lam, the Citizens’ HQ, and Sikkuy) wanted to hire a media coordinator to arrange interviews for Palestinian Israelis and prep them before their appearances. They have recruited Boaz Greilsammer, a PR professional who also works with Sikkuy. He has already begun work and drafted talking points for interviewees that will help them deal with antagonism they may encounter and express themselves to their best ability.

He will be assisted by a well-connected Palestinian-Israeli journalist (Mustafa Kablawi), who will seek out potential interviewees that Greilsammer can then pitch to the media.


The Alliance for Israel’s Future – Crisis Experts Project – an emergency NIF funding was approved to help implement the policy recommendations included in the papers the Jewish-Arab experts project drafted during the pandemic. This will include intensive lobbying, chiefly vis-à-vis government ministries, local authorities, and other agencies, as well as efforts to gain coverage in major media outlets. While not directly related to the current situation, this initiative continues to highlight the importance of Jewish-Arab cooperation.

Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)Since the start of the violence, ACRI has been working to de-escalate the situation and urging the government and police to prevent further hostilities. ACRI on May 10 appealed to remove the checkpoints and barricades in Sheikh Jarrah that violate residents’ and activists’ freedom of movement and expression. ACRI is continuing to appeal against the use of skunk water and violent crowd control measures against protesters in East Jerusalem, and it has also filed a Freedom of Information request into the Israel Police’s use of crowd-control methods in East Jerusalem.

ACRI and Ir Amim have also demanded that police remove a new blockade in Sheikh Jarrah. Police are only allowing residents and Haredim into the neighborhood, effectively prohibiting solidarity events. 

Meanwhile, the ACRI Doco-Rights project is gathering evidence of the police’s excessive force in dispersing demonstrations at the Damascus Gate and elsewhere, including the indiscriminate use of sponge-tipped and rubber bullets and stun grenades. They are planning to file an official letter of complaint on the subject.