“Shatil is the best thing that’s happened to civil society in Israel.” –Yuli Tamir, former Minster of Absorption and MK
“Shatil has changed the face of the NGO world in Israel.” – Judith Green, feminist and shared society activist
Shatil works for a democratic, pluralistic and just Israel on many fronts and with numerous partners. Below are examples of our impact on Israeli society:
Strengthening the forces for social change
Shatil planted the seeds for a true social change movement in Israel in 1987, when it brought hundreds of disparate activists together in the first national social change conference. Since then, Shatil has established or guided 83 coalitions; influenced 500 laws, bills and amendments; conducted 1275 trainings for 75,000 activists and affected the work of 5000 organizations. Building civil society in Israel’s periphery
- Fledgling civil society efforts in the north and south received a powerful boost when Shatil opened branches in Haifa in 1987 and in the Negev in 1994.
- A strengthened, networked civil society in the north led to the Shatil-coordinated Early Childhood Education Coalition’s success in persuading the State to fund more than 1,000 new public pre-school classes in the Israeli Arab sector, which helped close the enormous gap in preschool enrollment between Arab and Jewish children.
- In the years since the opening of Shatil’s southern branch, Negev civil society has grown from a few loosely formed grassroots groups to an area flourishing with coordinated social activism — from empowering Bedouin women with knowledge of their rights and skills to attain them to promoting local sustainable economic development that is beneficial to all.
- Based on a report by the Shatil-led Forum against the Exclusion of Women, the Attorney General instructed the government to halt the exclusion of women in the public sphere and called for legislation that would make such exclusion a crime.
- As a result of Shatil’s collaborative effort with the Association of Rape Crisis Centers and some of Israel’s leading women’s organizations, some 15,000 employers and employees in major institutions throughout the country underwent workshops equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Shatil helped to revive the International Coalition for Agunah Rights (ICAR) — the first instance of cooperation on feminist issues between Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements along with secular Jews — which successfully advocated for a precedent-setting revision to the Marital Property Law passed by the Knesset in 2008, allowing for the division of property before a divorce is granted, thereby minimizing the recalcitrant husband’s ability to use extortion as a condition for providing a get (halachic divorce certificate.) In 2013, ICAR also succeeded in getting the Knesset to pass legislation that guarantees four places for women in the heretofore male-only Committee to Appoint Religious Court Justices.
- Shatil has trained more than 1000 Bedouin women in leadership and armed them with social change tools and skills. Shatil’s training of Bedouin women health instructors with Ben Gurion University, resulted in dramatic, documented improvements in Negev Bedouin children’s nutrition.
Shatil infused the concept of shared society into the Israeli discourse, promoting not just the concept but also the practice of building a society in which all its population groups feel a sense of ownership. Shatil’s Shared Society program was instrumental in cultivating civil society organizations in Arab communities in the North, in the Triangle, and in the Negev, strengthening the web of people and organizations seeking to transform the society.
- A housing group established by Shatil in Lod is on its way to creating the first-ever cooperative housing for young Arab citizens. This innovative model, in a city with extreme inequality in housing and planning rights between Jewish and Arab residents, will not only help these Lod-based young adults find suitable housing in Lod, but will also be replicated in other areas.
- A Shatil-coordinated campaign succeeded in getting two streets located in an Arab neighborhood in Ramle renamed to reflect Arab cultural heritage.
- Based on findings in reports by the Shatil-coordinated Forum for Special Education in the Arab Community and the Parents’ Committee for Special Education in the Negev, the Margalit Commission recommended that the government give budget preference to special education in the Arab sector.
- Shatil’s intervention at Safed College created systemic change that increased the college’s commitment to the cultural diversity and to ending on-campus racism. The college began holding regular inter-ethnic and inter-cultural dialogue forums, offering classes in spoken Arabic for Jewish students; and providing Arab students increased assistance in the classroom. The college even uses the Shatil program in its promotional materials to distinguish itself from other colleges in the Galilee.
- Shatil has been working in the city of Haifa since 1986, cultivating organizations and initiatives that promote equality and shared living, particularly among Arab and Jewish residents of the city and publishing a book with recommendations for urban planning, culture, inter-communal relations, and business in a shared city. Shatil and its partners have established a Haifa Conflict Management and Resolution Center and to train the municipality’s community organizers in conflict analysis, mediation, and multi-cultural aspects of conflicts.
- Shatil facilitated a four-year dialogue of mid-level leaders from Israel’s Jewish and Palestinian communities. The group was designed to catalyze social change by changing the very concepts infusing Israeli society, to help give a conceptual framework for the creation of a shared society. Participants’ experience – both the relationships of trust they developed and the discourse in which they engaged on shared public space – has already had ripple effects throughout the society, shaping the discourse and pointing to new paths for influence.
Freedom of Information
In 1998, Shatil, together with NIF, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and the Center for Jewish Pluralism, guided the passage of Israel’s first comprehensive Freedom of Information Law, safeguarding the right of the pubic to access information in the hands of local and national authorities.
Free early childhood education
Shatil-coordinated coalitions were instrumental in the passage of the 1999 Free Compulsory Education Law, guaranteeing Israeli children ages three and up the chance for a solid educational start. The law was finally implemented following the 2011 social protest.
More legislative successes
- Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law
- Crime Victims’ Rights Law
- Revocation of the discriminatory property tax law which eliminated tax on uncultivated lands, relieving the burden on disproportionately taxed Arab citizens of Israel
- Defeat of a clause which would have provided a legal basis for the General Security Service’s use of “moderate physical pressure” during interrogations
- Enactment of the Meals for Schoolchildren Law, which provides hot lunches for some 140,000 pupils.
- Legislation outlawing employer discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Following intensive efforts of a Shatil-led coalition, the Knesset passed the Public Housing Law in 1998, affording residents of public housing the opportunity to purchase their homes at substantial discounts. Residents of low-income neighborhoods now have an important new avenue toward social mobility.
- The work of the Shatil-led Social Budget Forum stimulated a new socially just discourse around the state budget in 2013 and protected NIS3.5 billion in benefits from budget cuts
Protecting the environment
With the establishment of its Environmental Justice Project in 1996, Shatil began building the capacity of environmental organizations and, with the Bronfman Foundation and later the Green Environment Fun, transformed isolated activists into Israel’s environmental movement. Achievements include:
- organizing Israel’s first-ever environmental conference
- halting the building of a new polluting coal power station
- bringing water flow back to a northern stream
- persuading the Israel Lands Authority to create a fund to preserve open spaces
- halting the government’s Draconian planning reform bill – for which the Shatil-led Forum for Responsible Planning won the Green Globe Award in 2013
- successfully advocating for the first Israeli law that establishes preventive mechanisms for health and safety
- training and mentoring new environmental activists who go on to establish their own initiatives, such as the Negev’s first Environmental Film Festival
- helping Jerusalem activists successfully advocate for municipality-sponsored recycling and much more.
- From its first-ever Israeli trainings in advocacy skills in 1988, to leading sophisticated lobbying efforts through its Center for Policy Change (CPC) today, Shatil has enabled ordinary people and activists to gain access to decision-makers, to make their voices heard and to influence the government to make policy reflective of the peoples’ concerns.
- Shatil played a crucial role in the launch of The Open Budget, a new web-based initiative that allows anyone and everyone to see and search through different components of Israel’s national budget; and of All Rights, a web site that makes knowledge of citizens’ rights accessible.
Ethiopian and Russian immigrants take charge of their communities
In addition to empowering Ethiopian and Russian immigrants to work for positive change in their communities:
- Shatil helped 2,000 Ethiopian immigrants take advantage of government subsidies to acquire permanent housing.
- The activities of Yachdav, a Shatil coordinated coalition of Ethiopian women saw a dramatic decrease in wife murder and domestic violence.
- The eight schools in which Shatil’s Back from the Edge Program to assist immigrant youth at risk was implemented showed a marked decrease of up to 20 percent in school drop-out rates and higher matriculation achievements among immigrant youth. Literacy and social integration models developed by our partner organizations spread to many schools.
- Shatil developed resources and models to address the lack of awareness of learning disabilities among Russian and Ethiopian immigrant pupils
Ensuring Access to Health Care in the Periphery
Shatil successfully advocated for the creation of the Galilee’s only radiation center in Safed and persuaded the government to provide free transportation for cancer patients to Haifa until the new center is completed. Help for Micro-business Owners The Shatil-coordinated Forum to Promote Micro-business Initiatives together with the Micro-Business and Economic Justice Clinic of Tel Aviv University persuaded the National Insurance Institute (NII) to create new more flexible and accommodating guidelines that advance the interests of women engaged in micro-business initiatives.
Saving a Russian cultural treasure
Rallying immigrant and cultural activists, municipal policy makers and Knesset members, Shatil worked to save the largest Russian language library outside of the Former Soviet Union from the threat of closing. After a public outcry including demonstrations and petitions, the library opened its new downtown Jerusalem location in April 2009.
Training the next generation of social change leaders
Since 2001, Shatil has placed more than 600 university students in internships in social change organizations and has brought them together for enrichment in the Everett Social Justice Fellowships.
Special United Nations recognition
In recognition of Shatil’s professionalism and impact on civil society, the UN in 2005 granted Shatil ‘Associative Status’, and in 2007 awarded Shatil special status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC.)
Further to the systemic changes we brought to Israeli society, click here to see examples of the impact on individuals and their work