A message from Acri (Association for Civil Rights in Israel)
A new Israeli government, sworn in March 31, has pledged to “weather the thunder storms” of the global economic crisis. However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s past record of financial management leaves ACRI and other defenders of human rights concerned for the fate of the weakest segments of Israeli society at a time of financial instability, worried the government will fail in taking action to ensure each and every one – regardless of religion, nationality, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, or socioeconomic strata – will weather the storm. ACRI’s legal, advocacy, educational and public outreach efforts to promote social and economic rights, such as the rights to health, housing, employment, and education, and ensure that people can live their lives in dignity, have become even more necessary and relevant.
In a sign of the times, one of ACRI’s long-time partners, Mehuyavut (‘Commitment’), has run into financial difficulties. In an act of solidarity, and a deep sense of responsibility toward the causes and constituencies that Mehuyavut serves, ACRI has made the strategic decision to integrate a number of Mehuyavut’s projects into the organization. As of last month, the personnel and resources of Mehuyavut’s flagship project Center for the Rights of the Unemployed, as well as two community action groups, have been successfully absorbed into ACRI (one group in Yeruham, where Jewish residents are working to advance the rights of their neighbors in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Rakhme, and a second group in Kafr Kassem, where a group of black Arabs are working to eliminate racism from their community). At a time when increasing numbers of Israelis are finding it difficult to make ends meet, efforts to promote social justice and to challenge policies and practices that breed inequalities and societal tensions are more important than ever.
To learn more about ACRI’s work in the past year, and the individuals we have empowered, I invite you to read our new 2008 Annual Report. Thank you for your steadfast support, and, as always, I welcome any questions or feedback you may have.