Social and Economic Justice

Advancing Equality for All Israelis

The New Israel Fund (NIF) helps Israel live up to its founders' vision of a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants. Our aim is to advance liberal democracy, including freedom of speech and minority rights, and to fight inequality, injustice, and extremism that diminish Israel.

From Israel’s first rape crisis centers, to the passage of the law banning torture in civilian interrogations, NIF- funded organizations have driven positive social change and furthered justice and equality. Widely credited with building Israeli progressive civil society, we have provided over $250 million to more than 850 organizations since our inception in 1979. And we are more than a funder; NIF is at philanthropy’s cutting edge thanks in large part to our action arm Shatil, the New Israel Fund Initiative for Social Change. Today, NIF is a leading advocate for democratic values, builds coalitions, empowers activists and often takes the initiative in setting the public agenda.

NIF is based on a simple idea: individuals who care about Israel and believe in progressive values can join together to work for an Israel in which everyone is treated with dignity, for an Israel in which a shared society can truly take root, for an Israel in which Jewish life is inclusive in every respect. NIF supporters love Israel and help correct its flaws.

New Method for Choosing City Rabbis

By New Israel Fund

Following a petition to the Supreme Court by NIF grantee Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah, the Religious Services Ministry will change the manner in which city rabbis are chosen.

According to the new law, the rabbis will be chosen by an elected assembly. Half of this assembly will be made up of representatives from each party with seats in the municipal council (proportionate to their size); one quarter from the fields of education, business, and religious institutions; and another quarter from synagogue representatives.

For the first time there will be no place for members of the religious council. In addition, at least 31% of the representatives will be women.

According to Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah CEO Shmuel Shetach: "The participation of representatives of the residents and women… in the election for city rabbis will result in the election of moderate and open-minded city rabbis…who will understand that they are emissaries of all the residents of the city, and not just of one or another sector or of this or that party."

Photo Credit: "Torah 2" by Flickr user J. Nathan Matias.