I’ve now been to Gaza four times, three times this year alone. But no matter how often I’m there, nothing quite prepares me for the experience.
I get up early as the sun is rising, turn on lights which always work when I want them to, take a shower with plentiful hot clean water, make myself a strong coffee, and drive down the coast along the smoothly paved motorways of Israel to the Erez border crossing.
Permit papers in hand, we navigate Israeli passport control and walk the fifteen minutes through no-man’s land to the Palestinian Authority entrance. There our passports and PA permissions are checked and our driver from the Near East Council of Churches meets us, taking us a couple hundred metres to the Hamas passport control. Again our passports and papers are recorded, and we make our way along the wide pot-holed road to Gaza City, passing carts filled with produce and goods, drawn by horses and donkeys. For the next 48 hours or so, I sit in meetings where lights flicker on and off as electricity fails and generators kick in, drink only bottled water (using it also to brush my teeth), and use hand-sanitiser even after washing my hands.
Such a short distance, yet I always feel as though I’ve entered another world.
This time there were just four of us from the Church of Scotland and Methodist Church (UK), which meant that our schedule felt more spacious, and we were able to ask more questions and gather more information from our partner organisations. It’s too much to try to include all we saw and learned and experienced in just one post, so over the next few days, I hope to write about different aspects of our visits.
One project we visited was the Women’s Programme Centre in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, one of UNRWA’s gender initiative programmes. It provides vocational training to women, including sewing, embroidery and hairdressing. On site is a nursery for the children of the women who work there, and a kindergarten for the community. Though the centre aims to be self-sufficient in its funding, it still relies heavily on outside support, and recent UNRWA cuts have meant that eight people no longer receive a salary ($400/month). Because unemployment in Gaza is so high (around 60-65% for young people and women) and job opportunities so rare, they have chosen to continue working for the centre on a voluntary basis. ‘What else would they do,’ Samah, the Programme Coordinator, asked. ‘Sit at home and look at Facebook? They’d rather do something good for the community.’
Many of the women’s husbands are also unemployed, and in a conservative Muslim society, it’s not uncommon to have five, six or seven children. 80% of families rely on food aid.
Some of the women in the sewing department showed us how they recycled textiles, cutting out beautifully embroidered dresses and repurposing them as detailed collars and sleeves for new abayas. The kindergarten was colourfully decorated, and fabric learning tools lined the walls, upcycled on site from old clothing and linens. The kindergarten used to have 50 students, but now only has 21. Families struggle to pay the fees of 200NIS ($50)/4 months, so the centre subsidises many of the children who attend.
As we walked around the large building, we saw several closed doors. ‘Those programmes have had to stop because we didn’t have the funding,’ Samah explained.
In 2006 UNRWA established a legal aid clinic at the centre as part of a job creation programme. However, three lawyers there have been working without pay since February because of the funding cuts. They remain committed to the centre and the women they assist, and by continuing their work, they maintain their professional qualifications and links within the legal community.
While we were speaking with them, a young woman with a baby came in seeking legal assistance. Her family is based in the West Bank, and following trouble with her husband and his family, she is now living with her uncle. Her husband is not paying maintenance for the child, and the centre is trying to solve the problem by mediation rather than taking him to court, partly because court fees of 50NIS ($15) are prohibitive for both the centre and the young woman. Her’s is sadly not an isolated case.
Gender based violence and domestic abuse are prevalent throughout Gaza (as can be seen in the shocking infographic above from the UN Population Fund), and each centre we visited — from family health centres, psychosocial programmes, vocational training centres, and hospitals — is trying to raise awareness and address both the violence itself and the underlying issues of unemployment and poverty which often lead to an increase in abuse. (For example, in the waiting room of one of the Near East Council of Churches’ family health clinics, a woman was giving a lecture about GBV to the mothers who had brought their children for medical assessments. NECC’s vocational training centres also work with the young men to reduce instances of violence within the home, and posters about domestic violence hang in each of its centres.)
Each time we go to Gaza, I wonder how things will ever improve. The Strip is controlled by three authorities: Israel controls the borders and restricts freedom of movement of both people and trade; the Palestinian Authority is responsible for many of the governmental bodies; and finally, Hamas controls security and ‘manages’ the Gazan strip. The result is that the people of Gaza are trapped in the middle of the political power plays and fighting between each of these. On this visit, we also saw firsthand the impact the withdrawal of US funding from UNRWA and USAid in Gaza is having on the work of our friends and partners.
When we told Samah and the other women at Nuseirat Women’s Programme Centre how much admiration we had for them and their work in such difficult circumstances, she simply replied, ‘We have no choice. We try to stay. This is how things are. We try to stay.’
As we said our goodbyes, we assured them of our love, our prayers, our solidarity. We promised to share about the remarkable work they do, to tell of their determination and compassion, and to do everything we can to help them as they try to stay.
For more information on gender based violence and the effects of poverty on domestic abuse in Gaza, UN OCHA and UNFPA has produced some excellent reports:
We are not optimists; we do not present a lovely vision of the world which everyone is expected to fall in love with. We simply have, wherever we are, some small local task to do, on the side of justice, for the poor.
Dear friends, it has been too long since I last wrote, and for that, I apologise. February and March have been such busy months, with pilgrim groups and delegations from Scotland, visits to partner organisations, all manner of meetings, and rather a lot of time spent in the car traveling along Road 6 from Tiberias to Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Jerusalem and back. And alongside it all, there’s the weekly cycle of Sunday worship and a steady stream of guests staying in the upper apartment in the manse.
I was in Paris recently to attend the meeting of the Presbytery of International Charges, and took a couple of days after to wander the streets, do some shopping, and explore all the many cafes and restaurants where one can sit with a cup of coffee or glass of wine and watch the world go by.
Having lived in Tiberias for nearly three and a half years, I’ve learned that I really need time away from Israel every three or four months, even if it’s just for a short break. It was only when I arrived in Paris that I became aware of how absolutely exhausted I was. It’s not just the busyness of work; life in Israel — and to some extent work in the church here — requires a generous measure of assertiveness and a very thick skin, neither of which come naturally to me.
But I’ve realised that what takes the greatest toll is often feeling like I live a ‘double life’ doing the work I do.
On the one hand, life here is as it would be anywhere else. Emails have to be answered. Sermons need writing. Laundry needs doing. Groceries need to be bought. And there is much that I absolutely love about living here in the north of Israel. I love the weather and long lazy days off on the beaches. I love the buzz of evenings in Haifa and Tel Aviv-Jaffa. I love immersing myself in an ever-changing landscape, historically rich and naturally diverse, on the Israel National Trail. I love having a glass of wine in a friend’s garden, watching the sun set over the Mediterranean, listening to the call to prayer rising up from the mosques on the nearby hillside. I love the people I meet from all backgrounds and walks of life, and I love hearing their stories.
There is another reality here that is quite different. I sit on the beach near Caesarea and think of children in Gaza whose beaches are polluted. I drink a g&t in Jaffa with an awareness that just down the road in an Arab neighbourhood, another shooting took place the night before. I walk the Israel National Trail through ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948, and remember standing amongst the recently demolished homes of a Bedouin village. I watch the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee and think of Palestinian workers queuing at checkpoints on their way to work. I laugh and chat with young people straight out of the army, and think of the fear I’ve seen in a child’s eyes in the West Bank as a soldier walked past.
It’s not unlike pastoral ministry and those emotionally jarring days when in the morning you sit with a couple preparing for marriage and in the afternoon with a family preparing to bury a loved one. But here, it’s like that every day. Back and forth I visit both grief and celebration, righteous anger and complicit silence, hope and hopelessness, passion for justice and acceptance of the status quo. Every partner visit. Every meeting with an overseas delegation. Every talk with a pilgrim group. Conversations may be theoretical political analysis, but always at the forefront of my mind, I see the faces of people I know and care about. What do I think about the rockets in Tel Aviv? I think of the Tabeetha students. Or the bombing in Gaza? I remember the girls in the psychosocial clinics.
And this is a place where those of us in this work have to choose our words carefully. Emotions run high, especially as tensions rise. The wrong phrase could shut down a conversation or inflame it. What I say or write could put others at risk, especially if they are people or organisations in Israel critical of the current government’s policies. Self-censorship becomes second nature.
Since returning from Paris, I’ve met with some of the partner organisations that we are trying to reestablish links with — Sadaka-Reut and New Profile — and by chance, both of those meetings have been all women. (I’ll write posts about each, hopefully in the next week or so.) As well as the work they are involved in, and the ever evolving political situation here, we also talked about the way the work affects us. It was refreshing to hear them reflect so honestly on their experiences of living and working in a land where the space for critical discourse is continually shrinking, in contexts that are patriarchal and shaped by toxic masculinity, in jobs (vocations really) that require as much emotional intelligence as intellectual agility.
Those are conversations I am not able to have very often here, and it was liberating to be able to speak openly with such wise, passionate, and empathetic women. To hear my thoughts and feelings and experiences echoed in what they were saying. And to hear them affirm that the work we are all involved in is hard and comes with a cost … but that it is good, just, right work. We are each faithfully doing that small local task that we are called to do on the side of justice.
And we do not do it alone. I think that is what is most important. This land may not always feel so holy, but in these past weeks, I’ve been reminded again that I am surrounded by holy people doing holy work.
Apologies for the recent silence on here. All my words at the moment are going other places: sermons, reports, articles, a Burns Night reply… I am doing a lot of writing at the moment, but I’m also trying to fit it in between a million other things. Life is busy. Good. But busy. I find I start the week with an empty diary, and then I get to Saturday and realise I’ve been out all week and I’ve given hardly any thought to Sunday’s service.
Diary management is still an issue, and I suspect it will always be thus.
But my disorganisation is boring chat, right?
One of the challenges I’ve faced since I arrived is simply getting my head around everything I’m involved in. I’ve met most of our partners and will start a rough rota of visiting them. But the church is a whole different story. Like any other ministry position, there is a building to worry about, finances to work through, contracts with groups using the church during the week, cleaning and maintenance and insurance and all those tasks.
When I arrived, my office looked a bit like this:
That’s not entirely fair, because at the point I took these pictures, I had already begun organising and had pulled out some things which had been hidden away behind cupboard doors. But it’s not far off. A summer dust storm meant everything was covered with a thick layer of grit, which added an additional challenge and often left me sneezing so hard I was almost sick.
These are pretty good images if I want to sum up how the whole job feels some days: a big ol’ hot mess.
I’m not naturally very organised. But I am naturally very nosey. And I always want a sense of the bigger picture so I might know where I fit in, where I can help, what I should avoid, when I might rather hide…. So from day one, I started digging through everything. And the piles of rubbish kept growing. Old CD players which didn’t work. Dozens of empty boxes. Stubs of candles. Broken Christmas decorations. A huge plywood model of the Scots Hotel.
One member of the congregation came in a couple of Sundays ago, saw the mess, and said with a mixture of admiration and horror, ‘No one has ever bothered to go through all of that’. Yeah. No kidding.
Today I went down to the church with a member of the hotel security team and two amazing cleaners. For three hours, we cleaned and sorted and threw away and organised.
Under the dirt and grime, I discovered these delights:
But there were also real treasures: Two nature books from 1899 which contained hand-painted plates of moths and butterflies. An old bible from the late 1800s which belonged to the Torrence family. An old triglot Bible in Greek, Syriac and Latin. A Greek lexicon from Lairg from 1873.
There must be wonderful stories behind these books which have just been sitting gathering dust. They can’t stay where they are and be subjected to the humidity, the heat, the dirt, the insects. Some will go in the visitors’ centre. Others … I’m not sure.
Again, it’s an apt analogy for what life is like in this country. Everywhere I turn, I uncover unimaginable depths of history, stories longing to be told, events nearly lost in time. I pause again and again and think to myself: I love my job. The good, the bad, the ugly. There is plenty of it all. But despite and because of that, I love my job.
So now, some of my questions about my work have been answered. I know what I have keys to and what I don’t have keys to. Some of the more precious items are in cupboards that now has a lock. The nave has been properly cleaned and hopefully the groups using the building will keep it that way. But with answered questions come also difficult conversations. And more mystery. And a sense of history which reaches far beyond me.
I want to honour that. But I also don’t want to be burdened by it. It’s a fine line I feel like I’m walking just now. And always.
Then justice will reside in wild lands, and righteousness will abide in farmlands. The fruit of righteousness will be peace, and the outcome of righteousness, calm and security forever. Then my people will live in a peaceful dwelling, in secure homes, in carefree resting places.
Dear friends, it has been a long time since I last wrote. I was on holiday for the second half of August, speaking with churches, schools, guilds and groups in Scotland for the month of September, and then returned to a backlog of admin and writing in October. It has taken me longer than I’d expected to catch up, but I hope now to return to more regular blogging again.
One of the pieces I have been working on over the past couple of weeks is a report on the different organisations the Church of Scotland works alongside across Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Our partners work at grassroots, national and international levels. They challenge unjust systems and advocate for structural change. They provide vocational training and employment opportunities, health care and psychosocial support, education and rehabilitation. They empower young people, women, refugees, minorities and prisoners. They work uni-nationally, creating safe spaces where members of the same community can explore their hurts and fears, and bi-nationally, creating opportunities for encounter and exchange between different groups. And they do their work with self-awareness, proud of their cultural heritage and religious identities but also honest about the ways their own communities have contributed to the current division of society in Israel, military occupation of the West Bank, and blockade of Gaza.
I highlighted some of them during my talks in Scotland, and I thought it might be of interest to some of my readers here to know who they are (bearing in mind that this is only about half of them; my colleague Rev John McCulloch works with most of the Jerusalem and West Bank partners). So below is simply a summary of our partners’ work. I have attached links to their websites if you would like more information about their programmes and ways to support and encourage them. Maybe your community or congregation would like to link with them in some way; or maybe you’re planning a visit or pilgrimage and would like to visit one or two of them. If so, I am happy to help you find ways of doing that.
Sindyanna, Cana of Galilee
As they describe themselves on their website (sindyanna.com), ‘Sindyanna is a unique non-profit organization led by a team of Arab and Jewish women working to create social change from the ground up. Our goals are to produce outstanding olive oil and other premium food products, while enhancing Arab-Jewish cooperation, promoting Fair Trade, creating economic opportunities for Arab women, and assisting local growers and producers.’
Sindyanna is also currently developing eco-initiatives to ensure its visitors centre is environmentally friendly and sustainable. Their new hydroponic agriculture programme enables the women they work with to grow herbs and vegetables for their families and communities even in densely populated neighbourhoods where few families have their own garden.
Sindyanna’s high quality olive oil is widely available in the States, but they’re still looking for a way to enter the UK market. And if you buy olive oil beauty products from LUSH, you’re already supporting the work of the women of Sindyanna!
The International Christian Committee in Israel (one of the organisations under the umbrella of the Middle East Council of Churches’ Department of Services to Palestinian Refugees), runs a number of different programmes:
They work with girls aged 12-21 in marginalised areas of Acre, offering psychosocial support, academic tutoring, and opportunities to discuss contemporary issues the girls face.
They run a youth leadership and develop programme in Me’elya, a Christian town on the Lebanese border, focusing on creative thinking, team building, and communication skills.
They have begun a special project in conflict transformation dialogue, bringing together Arab and Jewish students and teachers from the Carmel School in Nazareth Ilit (recently renamed Nof Hagalil) and the Baptist School in Nazareth, to promote understanding and exposure between the two communities through art and sport.
They have also started an interfaith programme, in which more than 60 Jewish, Druze, Muslim and Christian teachers visit sites significant to one another’s religions, as a way of promoting understanding of ‘the other’.
As they introduce their work on their website (gal-soc.org) the Galilee Society — the Arab National Society for Health, Research and Services — ‘aims to achieve equitable health, environmental and socio-economic conditions, and to increase development opportunities for Palestinian Arabs inside Israel, both as individual citizens and as a national minority living in their homeland’.
They conduct extensive research into the physical and environmental health of the Arab communities and use their findings to work alongside both the Israeli government and other grassroots organisations to improve the wellbeing of Arab citizens of Israel. They also run programmes in bio-technology and the use of traditional medicinal plants. A core value is the preservation of Arab culture and identity.
House of Grace, Haifa
The House of Grace is a residential rehabilitation facility for Arab ex-prisoners in central Haifa. Run by the Shehade family, House of Grace is the only facility of its kind for Arab prisoners in Israel. Released prisoners spend nine months living on-site, during which they are helped to reintegrate into society and offered any support they may need for drug or alcohol addiction. They spend an additional year living in the community but making regular visits to House of Grace to meet with social workers to ensure they are well supported during the transition period. House of Grace also runs an after school programme for at-risk children and summer camps for children from low-income families. During each holiday period (for all religions) they distribute food parcels to families in need, made up of food collected by the local community, especially school children.
New Profile is a feminist organisation working for the demilitarisation of Israeli society. They have two main programmes: a counselling programme for young people seeking exemption from military service and one which educates teachers and social workers about the harm caused by a militarised curriculum. Around a thousand young people contact them each year through their counselling service. They are the only organisation in Israel working to tackle directly the problem of militarism as the root cause of the military occupation of the Palestinian Territories and the lack of peaceful solutions to the conflict. You can read some of their news and testimonies on their website: newprofile.org.
Sadaka-Reut, Tel Aviv-Jaffa
Sadaka-Reut is an organisation of Palestinian and Jewish activists from central Israel who are working to build bi-national partnerships through education programmes for youth and young adults. They have three main programmes:
‘Building a culture of peace’ is a programme of youth groups for Jewish and Palestinian students aged 14-18 which addresses issues relevant to the young people’s lives and creates opportunities for respectful encounters between the communities, encouraging the youth to build social and political partnerships.
‘Community in action’ is a volunteering and leadership development project for Palestinian and Jewish high school graduates who organise local campaigns within their communities and work as counsellors and role models for Palestinian and Jewish children and youth.
‘Partners in shaping reality’ establishes groups of Jewish and Palestinian university students who engage in dialogue and action on university and college campuses throughout Israel. It creates space for civil, political and social discussion about the conflict and Arab-Jewish relations.
In addition to these programmes, Sadaka-Reut also offers tours of Jaffa which highlight the impact of gentrification on the Arab community and tell the history from a bi-national perspective.
Physicians for Human Rights have a volunteer base of 3000 medical staff. They run an open clinic in Jaffa for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who have no access to the public health system, operate mobile clinics in the West Bank, and send doctors (Arab citizens of Israel, because the Jewish doctors are not permitted) into Gaza to provide medical care and training. They help Gazans seeking medical treatment in Israel or the West Bank to navigate the process of applying for permits. And alongside the services they offer, they work to effect structural change, challenging laws and systems which are discriminatory towards Palestinians in the Occupied Territory, prisoners and detainees, migrant workers, refugees, undocumented persons, and Israeli residents. They have an extensive range of reports on their website: phr.org.il.
Near East Council of Churches, Gaza
The NECC Gaza offers vocational training, psychosocial support, and primary health care to some of the poorest people in Gaza. Their services are available to all, regardless of religion, gender, age, political affliction, and they are a witness of peace, hope and reconciliation in the midst of almost unthinkable deprivation and ongoing tension and trauma. Their work is highly respected and hugely appreciated by the people they serve. Their clinics and centres not only fill some of the gaps left by a healthcare system struggling due to a lack of medicines, funds, electricity and clean water as a result of the blockade, they also provide valuable employment opportunities in an area where unemployment rates are as high as 65%. Their 2017 annual report highlights the extent of their work: http://dsprme.org/uploads/Annual_Report_2017_19-4-20181.pdf
Nuseirat Women’s Project Centre, Gaza
Nuseirat refugee camp is home to more than 80,000 refugees. Those who live there suffer overcrowding, high unemployment and poverty, contaminated water, and frequent electricity cuts. The Women’s Programme Centre in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, one of UNRWA’s gender initiative programmes, provides vocational training to women, including sewing, embroidery and hairdressing. On site is a nursery for the children of the women who work there, and a kindergarten for the community. In 2006 UNRWA established a legal aid clinic at the centre as part of a job creation programme. The US government’s cuts in funding to UNRWA’s work in the West Bank and Gaza had a direct impact upon the centre, and a year ago, eight employees were working on a voluntary basis because they could not find other work and preferred helping their community to staying at home. I have written about their work before: https://imaginationofpeace.com/?s=we+Try+to+stay
Ahli Arab Hospital, Gaza
Ahli Arab Hospital is committed to offering high quality medical care to all regardless of religious, ethnic or economic background. It also trains doctors and nurses throughout Gaza. In addition to its hospital facility, it provides free mobile clinics to villages across Gaza and offers specialised care for elderly women, underweight or malnourished children, screening for early detection of breast cancer, and psychosocial support. It has eighty beds, of which only fifty are currently in use because of lack of funds. The Diocese of Jerusalem gives more background on its website: http://www.j-diocese.org/index.php?page=129666024424&sub=129698368736
The YMCA Gaza is a safe, politically neutral space for both Christian and Muslim children to play and families to meet. They have two gyms (one for men, one for women), a basketball court, a football pitch, an art studio, a library, and a games room. Gaza has one of the youngest populations in the world, but there are very few leisure and sports opportunities for the young people, which has serious implications for their physical and mental wellbeing, so the facilities provided by the YMCA meet a significant need. The YMCA also runs a youth camp in the summer and social initiatives throughout the year and is sourcing funding to start a music programme for its young people. They offer a summary of their programmes in English on their website: ymcagaza.org.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza is dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). They describe their work on their website: ‘The work of the Centre is conducted through documentation and investigation of human rights violations, provision of legal aid and counselling for both individuals and groups, and preparation of research articles relevant to such issues as the human rights situation and the rule of law. The Centre also provides comments on Palestinian Draft Laws and urges the adoption of legislation that incorporates international human rights standards and basic democratic principles. To achieve its goals, the Centre has recruited a committed staff of well-known human rights lawyers and activists.’
The PCHR provides weekly reports by email, updating the public about the situation on the ground and human rights violations in the Gaza Strip. You can sign up for their newsletter online: pchrgaza.org.
Atfaluna has helped thousands of deaf children and adults and their families in Gaza through their programmes of deaf education, speech therapy, income generation, vocational training, community awareness and counselling. Onsite they have a school and workshops for woodworking, ceramic, and embroidery. On our visit in June of this year, they told us that they have had to reduce the number of students from 300 to 250 and reduce staff salaries as a result of funding cuts. You can read more about their work and view their high quality crafts through their website: atfaluna.net.
The following are organisations we don’t currently have a direct connection with (though I have recently met with Zochrot to learn more about their work and see how we might collaborate). But I have huge respect for their work and often use their websites for my own research, especially here in the Galilee, though also further afield.
Adalah is an independent human rights organisation and legal centre, initially founded as a joint project of the Galilee Society and the Arab Association for Human Rights. They promote human rights in Israel in general and the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel in particular. They also advocate on behalf of Palestinian residents of the West Bank. They publish special reports and briefing papers in English on their website and is a helpful resource. https://www.adalah.org
The Mossawa Center, Haifa
The Mossawa Center ‘promotes the economic, social, cultural, and political rights of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel and the recognition of this community as a national indigenous minority with its own national, cultural, and historical distinctiveness. [It] seeks to promote a democratic society and acts against all forms of discrimination’. It engages in grassroots, national, and international advocacy as well as economic research and budget analysis. It produces reports and newsletters including its findings in English on its website. http://www.mossawa.org/eng/
Al-Marsad, Majdal Shams (Golan Heights)
Al Marsad’s mission is ‘to work to protect and promote human rights and respect for the rule of law in the Occupied Syrian Golan’. Through its work, it ‘seeks to monitor and document human rights law and humanitarian law violations, and to urge the international community to pressure Israel to respect international law, stop its violations, and end its occupation of the Syrian Golan’. Al Marsad also offers alternative tours of the Golan, discussing with visitors the history of the region and the current reality for its residents. https://golan-marsad.org
Zochrot, Tel Aviv-Jaffa
Zochrot is an organisation of mostly Jewish Israelis who are committed to acknowledging and addressing the Nakba of 1948 as a key part of resolving the current conflict. Their work is not only about naming the injustices of the past but also about enabling Israeli society to envision a decolonised future in which Palestinians and Jews are fully integrated. They believe that granting Palestinians right of return has the potential to heal the rift between the two communities. They offer tours to villages destroyed in the years following the establishment of the State of Israel, host conferences and study groups, provide resources for teachers, and organise an annual film festival. https://zochrot.org
Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, Southern Israel
The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality is the only Arab-Jewish organisation which remains focused solely on the specific problems confronting the Arab-Bedouin communities in the Naqab/Negev. Their mission is to achieve full civil rights and equality for all who live there, and their activities include grassroots efforts to ensure vital basic services are delivered to Bedouin communities, legal advocacy at a national level, and representation at international meetings and conventions (including the submission of shadow reports to the UN). https://www.dukium.org