From Our Chief Executive: December 2017

In our increasingly frenzied world standing up for the basic rights of citizens in Israel and elsewhere can come at a price. Take ACRI – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. For over 40 years it has been working closely with the Ministry of Education to promote education for democracy and equality including providing resources for teachers to teach these values. For the last few years ACRI has organised a conference with the Ministry as part of Human Rights Week.

This year it decided to look at the topic of workers’ rights. However, the Minister of Education is trying to get the Conference cancelled to try to silence ACRI. He is being supported in his attempts by Im Tirtzu, a hard-right group with seemingly limited regard for Israeli democracy. This despite ACRI’s long history of working with the Ministry of Education under various governments. It appears that ACRI’s track-record of standing up for civil liberties and human rights – from ensuring women can serve in the Airforce, to banning civilian torture, to securing the right to water – is considered a threat.

ACRI has not taken this lightly and is continuing to speak up for Israeli democracy and the rights of its citizens. The fact is that ACRI has a decades-long track record of improving Israel. So in the same week it is being attacked by Minister Bennett, ACRI is congratulating other government ministers on their decision to reform the care system for Israel’s elderly, an issue ACRI has been working on for seven years. This decision improves the dignity of life for Israel’s older generations and is testament to ACRI’s ability to cooperate and work for change.

NIF is proud to support ACRI and our other groups who continue their work despite smears and attacks. They represent a positive face of Israel which continues to inspire and motivate.

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