3 December 2012
Last week NIF approved $12,000 in emergency grants to ensure that the social justice needs of all Israelis remain high on the public agenda as Israel approaches elections. NIF believes in equality and democracy. These new grants empower groups lobbying for a fair budget that takes social concerns into account, advocating for workers’ rights, and shaping public housing policy.
1. "Electing a Social Budget" Forum: The Forum is comprised of 25 member organizations (including many NIF grantees).
Goal: To devise a state budget that is responsive to social concerns.
In the period preceding the January elections, The Forum plans to hold conferences in Haifa, Lod, and Beer Sheva. An effort will be made to ensure broad participation by the heterogeneous populations of these cities.
The Forum advocates for: lowering real-estate prices by increasing the supply of affordable housing and diversifying and expanding the public housing system; strengthening and improving public education; reducing poverty by having the government assume real responsibility for social services and making the system of allowances more accessible; fixing and revitalizing the public healthcare system; and developing public transportation, especially in the periphery.
2. The Coalition for Direct Employment: This coalition, comprised of some 30 organizations, works to ensure that workers in Israel are employed directly rather than through a contractor. The law requires regular employees receive benefits such as retirement pensions, continuing education credits, and vacation time. Contract workers are excluded from these protections.
Goal: To increase public awareness of the growing phenomenon and consequences of contract employment, and to modify government policy on the issue.
The coalition will encourage activists to attend party conferences and candidate gatherings to raise the issue of indirect employment. The coalition will also hold a conference for contract workers and representatives of political parties to examine the parties’ positions on these issues.
3. The Forum for Public Housing: An eight-organization forum.
Goal: To promote public housing in Israel and influence government policy.
Housing was a prominent issue during the massive protests of summer 2011, but the outgoing Government has not found meaningful solutions in general, and especially not to public housing. The Forum for Public Housing is working to advance the issue ahead of the election cycle.