|Written by Boston Office|
NIF opposes religious coercion and the monopolistic practices of the ultra-Orthodox- controlled Rabbinate, which curtails personal and religious freedom in such matters as Jewish identity and citizenship, marriage, divorce and burial. NIF supports a variety of strategies to combat this monopoly, and to promote the rights of all Jewish streams to receive official recognition and equal allocation of State resources. NIF is currently the only major funder with a dedicated program promoting pluralistic voices in the Orthodox community; NIF is also the seed-funder of Israel's first secular yeshiva, in Tel Aviv.
NIF funds "amutot" (non-profit organizations) that are registered with and approved by the Israeli government. However, given the impact of the occupation on various aspects of Israeli democracy and society, NIF does support Israeli amutot that work on human rights and social justice issues in the Occupied Territories.
The New Israel Fund was among the first funders of Arab civil society in Israel – the organizations that have won groundbreaking victories for civil and human rights for Israel's most disenfranchised minority. As documented by the Israeli government in the Or Commission Report, the 20% of Israel's citizens who are Arab have suffered de facto and de jure discrimination since the founding of the state. The New Israel Fund serves on the steering committee of the Task Force for Israeli-Arab Issues, a group that includes many American Jewish mainstream groups who have come to recognize the importance of this issue.
We support Arab as well as joint Jewish-Arab civil society organizations that work to protect and promote the rights of Arab citizens on issues ranging from land and water rights to equal access to education, employment and housing. Our work in the Bedouin community, Israel's most impoverished, has resulted in the recognition of previously unrecognized villages and the slow but steady provision of basic infrastructure and services to this dramatically underserved population. From incubating micro-enterprise to uniting Arab women against honor killings, no one has done more to empower Arab women than the New Israel Fund family.
Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens live together in one small nation, but bring dramatically different narratives to their shared land and citizenship. Understanding the Arab minority narrative means that we do not demand adherence to Zionist principles as a condition of our support. Achieving meaningful coexistence between these two populations will require patience, dialogue and mutual respect, including the freedom to disagree about Israel's most difficult and existential issues.
The New Israel Fund is committed to strengthening democracy in Israel, supports freedom of speech and promotes non-violent means of expression of belief and conscience. We oppose any attempt to criminalize the legitimate expression of support for any non-violent strategy or tactic, including those we do not ourselves support.
The NIF opposes the global (or general) BDS movement, views its use of these tactics as counterproductive, and is concerned that segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel.
NIF will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs.
NIF opposes the occupation and subsequent settlement activities. NIF will not exclude support for organizations that discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.
As the leading organization advancing democracy in Israel, the New Israel Fund strongly believes that our job is to work within Israel to ensure democratic accountability.
With a free press, involved citizenry, a strong and independent judiciary, and a track record of officially constituted commissions and committees of inquiry, there are internal means to hold Israeli leaders accountable to the law, and we work to strengthen all those institutions. We therefore firmly oppose attempts to prosecute Israeli officials in foreign courts as an inherent principle of our dedication to Israeli democracy.
The New Israel Fund believes in the principle of self-determination and therefore urges immediate and serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to achieve two states for two peoples and an end to the occupation.
In keeping with our core values of strengthening democracy in Israel, supporting freedom of speech and promoting non-violent means of expression of belief, we support the right of members of our family of organizations to take diverse positions on recognition of Palestinian statehood, reflecting the reality of the spectrum of opinion in Israeli society and in the global Jewish community. NIF itself takes no position regarding recognition of Palestinian statehood in September 2011.
For additional information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.