“The Nation Demands Social Justice” – For All

August 14, 2011

Event Poster for Beer-Sheva Rally that Reads, “The Negev Demands Social Justice”

I’m forgoing my perfectionist leanings because I want to tell you about the Israel protests tonight. I attended the Beer-Sheva rally, estimated at 35,000, and followed closely on Twitter and Facebook the progress of the protest in Haifa as well. (I consider Haifa and Beer-Sheva to be my Israeli hometowns.)

In Beer-Sheva, it was a warm, dry night. The atmosphere was that of a street festival, and babies and small children abounded, despite the late hour.

But something interesting was happening. Taking the focus off Tel Aviv changed the nature of the protests. In Haifa and Beer-Sheva, we saw a far greater inclusiveness in the protests than we had seen before, with gay pride flags flying high, signs for handicapped rights, and most of all, significant mike time given to Arab Israeli issues.

In Beer-Sheva, Hanan Alsana (חנאן אלסנע), a Bedouin woman, was one of the headline speakers and a highlight of the night to many.

Live Coverage from the Ground

I know many people are uncomfortable with Twitter, and that’s fine, so I’m bringing it to you. Here’s a live account of what people were saying as the protests happened.

— Keep reading for photos, videos, funny stories, and recommendations of what to read next. Most importantly, I look forward to hearing your thoughts — 
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Jewish/Israel News: All the News That’s Fit to Tweet

October 21, 2009
Source: Flickr, Just.Luc

Source: Flickr, Just.Luc

The air is popping, molecules are dancing, you can practically feel the crackle in the air– alive with energy in the world of Jewish philanthropy and innovation. The New Jew is here to bring you the news that can’t be missed.

Israel

  • Israel President’s Conference— Today is the first day of the 2nd annual President’s Conference, founded by President Shimon Peres. This year’s theme is “Tomorrow’s Future.” To get live updates on Twitter, click on this link where I have collected all the relevant resources for you

(Flickr photo link via Just.Luc, Creative Commons)

In the Media

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  • Free Press Index— Israel’s Free Press Rank plummets on Reporters Without Borders’ index due to tightened government control over the media during Operation Cast Lead (Gaza 2008/2009) and during the elections. Israel dropped 43 places to #93. (The US is #20, up from #40 last year)
  • Human Rights Watch: Anti-Israel— In this New York Times op-ed, Robert L. Bernstein, former chairman of HRW criticizes the group for repeatedly singling out Israel for human rights violations without holding other Middle Eastern countries to equivalent standards
  • Shalom, Al Jazeera— An Egyptian newspaper broke the story that Israeli billionaire Haim Saban was set to acquire the Arab world’s news station. The story is yet unconfirmed
  • Palestinian Jews? It’s not Pre-State Deja Vu— The Wall Street Journal’s James Woolsey asks if we have Israeli Arabs why can’t there by Palestinian Jews?
  • Our Israel? — A raging debate between The Forward’s Jay Michaelson and the Shalem Center’s Daniel Gordis centers on the question of how we perceive Israel as a Jewish state and as our state. Michaelson complains: “My love of Israel has turned into a series of equivocations,” in reference to his stance toward Israeli politics, peace, and Palestinians. Gordis counters, “But you know what I love about this place, Jay?  I love that all the political baggage is mine.” (Don’t forget to read the comments as well)

Jewish Connectivity

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  • Assessing Birthright Israel— It’s been 10 years. Where does Taglit-Birthright Israel stand after a decade of hard work? Here are the statistics: Birthright has brought 200,000 young Jews to Israel so far– 10,000 will come this winter. Philanthropic  dollars: $80 million raised: 55% from individuals; 22% from Jewish communities and the Jewish Agency; 23% from the Israeli government

— Interested in Jewish Connectivity, Israeli Technology & the Environment, Israel’s Economy & the Jewish Community Landscape, Innovation & Education? Read on. —

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Jewish Philanthropy: Arab Israelis Shun Meeting with Jewish Donors

January 11, 2008
Theseus&Procrestes
Photo by Mythic Journeys

If you work in Jewish philanthropy in Israel, you know that there are two categories of donors: those who care for Israeli Arabs and those who don’t.

If your organization works with Israeli Arabs, you promote those efforts with vigor to pro-Arab donors, hoping that their interest will take root. If your potential donors are anti-Arab, then you don’t breathe a word of it, silently sectioning off that work.

In this post, I will tell you some truths about Israel with Hebrew, Arabic, and some Greek thrown in.

Jewish Philanthropy and Israeli Arabs

Jewish donors from Europe and the United States visited Israel this week to learn more about the challenges facing Israeli Arabs in Israeli society. Seventy Jewish organizations were represented.

The trip is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen Israeli Arab integration and leadership in Israel. More than ever, there is a strong interest in improving the quality of life for Israeli Arabs– but not everyone is happy about it.

Ameer Makhoul, the head of Ittijah, an umbrella organization for Arab non-governmental organizations in Israel, refused to meet with the donors and cautioned others against it as well.

Makhoul’s complaint? He didn’t want to speak with anyone who saw Israel as a Jewish state. “Meeting with them means legitimizing and accepting their agenda and the framework of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. This is a multipurpose and diverse group that is trying to dictate our future,” he said.

Are you serious?

Let’s have some basic common sense on this issue. Someone wants to hear your concerns and priorities. They want to know how they can help you, your community, and those you serve improve to their lives. And you tell them you’re not interested?

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Political Donation will Help Israeli Arabs Volunteer for National Service

December 26, 2007
ArabWomen
Photo by Zainub

Don’t you wish sometimes that politicians would just set aside the their differences and join hands to work on making the world a better place? Isn’t that why they wanted to work in public service to begin with?

Avigdor Lieberman, the heavy hitting leader of Israel’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party, is laying aside his political guns and partnering with Arcadi Gaydamak’s Social Justice Party to promote Israeli Arab volunteering.

Promoting National Service for Israeli Arabs

AvigdorLieberman

Yisrael Beiteinu has just donated $128,600 to promote Israeli Arabs’ participation in Israel’s National Service. Reports from the Arab community assert that 76% of Arab youth would like to volunteer, but don’t know how to go about it. There is very little precedent and what with Israel’s often hostile perception of Arabs, it’s hard to get started.

Lieberman states: “These people need to feel wanted here in Israel and not the other way around… the volunteering issue is a crucial one, this kind of volunteer work can bridge gaps between Jews and Arabs and carries a positive message.”

Growing Number of Israeli Arabs in National Service

The number of Israeli Arabs in the National Service (Sherut Leumi) is growing: 2007 has the highest numbers of participation yet. Israeli Arab enlistment has grown almost 100% from 2006 to 2007 with 600 Arabs now serving in Israel’s 12,000 person force. Volunteers typically serve the community directly, working in schools, community centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and other social institutions.

Resistance from the Arab community is high and potential volunteers face expected challenges. Ha’aretz reports:

Still, many Israeli Arabs oppose such volunteering, calling it an attempt by the Jewish establishment to blur the Arab-Palestinian identity of the younger generation and “Israelize” them. Another claim is that the state is using the national service to indirectly recruit Arab youth for a kind of military service.

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