News & Media Articles

Freedom, Solidarity and Passover

07 April 2009 By New Israel Fund

Dear Friends and Supporters:

At a time when our mission is increasingly critical to the future of a progressive and just Israel, the New Israel Fund wishes you and your family a happy and healthy Passover.

In NIF News this week – and on YouTube , you can learn about the solidarity march we co-sponsored on Sunday in Umm El Fahm, the Arab Israeli city invaded by ultra-nationalist, right-wing provocateurs two weeks ago.   Our partner was NIF grantee Yud-Bet B’Cheshvan, an Orthodox organization established in 2007 to promote tolerance in the aftermath of the Rabin assassination.   Occurring a few days before Passover, the march reflected the effort to transform the holiday’s traditional themes of freedom and justice into norms for contemporary application. 

What we did on Sunday encapsulates why we exist.  In Israel, the gap between Jews and Arabs, left and right, religious and secular, settlers and the peace movement, is widening.  The government formed last week by Binyamin Netanyahu runs the risk of further polarizing Israeli society and, through its rejection of the two-state solution and threats to denaturalize Israel’s Arab citizens, increasing Israel’s international isolation.  Supporting those Israelis committed to promoting equality and tolerance among Jews and Arabs, and peace between Israel and its neighbors, is needed today more than ever. 

The global economic crisis and the Madoff scandal have placed Israel’s social change movement on financial life-support.   Yet, the current political dynamics in Israel – a bloated right-wing government and a left in disarray, highlight the urgent imperative of empowering the millions of Israelis excluded from power and influence.  The New Israel Fund and our family of organizations face tough choices regarding our work on the ground, but we are committed to supporting the “reinvention” of Israeli progressivism.  

As you prepare for this very special holiday, and as you reflect on its contemporary relevance, we urge you to join us in making the vision of a better Israel a reality.

Chag sameach,

Larry Garber