Shatil helps guide ‘1000 Tables’ and encourages grassroots activism across Israel
- Shatil staff and consultants have been utilizing the ongoing social protests to expand the model of participatory democracy. Following September 4th massive protest rally, Shatil consultants kept busy assisting protest leaders with the next major action, “1,000 tables,” which took place on Saturday night, September 10th. It featured thousands of people sitting at tables, each with 10 members of the public and a facilitator, all discussing the next phase of the ongoing social justice protests and their vision for a just and egalitarian Israel, leading to new thoughts and understandings for further organization and action. Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, young and old all took part in the discussions which were spread out across the country in such Israeli towns and cities as Kiryat Gat, Nazareth, Tirat Hacarmel, Beersheva, Givat Olga and El-Arakib. Shatil staff worked with the event’s planning committee, helped them network and recruit facilitators and helped publicize the event.
- 450,000 Israelis from across the country, including Arab Israelis, immigrants from Israel’s Russian and Ethiopian communities and many more came together on Saturday night September 3rd to proclaim with one loud voice “The People! Demand! Social Justice!” Shatil expresses its admiration to all the activists, coordinators, tent city residents and many more who worked tirelessly in the past two months to make Israel’s largest ever social protest a reality.Shatil’s work in this regard, as with many of the events connected to the ongoing social justice protests, has mostly been behind the scenes. Nonetheless Shatil played an instrumental role in ensuring that people from all over the country and from multiple communities would join the protest, in sharpening the messages of the social protestors and in mobilizing Israeli civil society in favor of Saturday night’s mass demonstration. In the aftermath of the protest Shatil is working in multiple ways to ensure that the energy, excitement, and passion of Saturday’s demonstration is translated into long lasting sustainable changes to the country’s essential social fabric.
- More than 100 civil-society activists, academics, public officials, Knesset members and concerned citizens convened in From Democracy on the Guard to a Democracy in Renewal, a Shatil-coordinated convention held in Tel Aviv on September 5th with the aim of highlighting the crucial links between democracy, social justice, and multiculturalism.Taking place on the heels of the largest demonstration in Israel’s history and implemented in cooperation with NIF flagship-grantee the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Jewish-Arab coalition Shutafut-Sharaka, the day further aimed to leverage the commitment, solidarity and civic engagement exhibited by the hundreds of thousands of Israelis leading the country’s ’social awakening’. The event allowed for improved coordination of upcoming civil-society efforts to promote more democratic decision-making processes and bring about more just public policies.
- Many residents of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, where Shatil’s Avi Dabush live, have expressed their support for the current social protests; that however has not translated into their attendance at protest demonstrations taking place across the country. To a large extent this is due to the tenuous security situation, with residents doing their utmost to lead normal lives under a barrage of missile attacks. After Avi held numerous discussions with leading figures in the regional council, it was decided to hold a gathering where residents of multiple communities within the council would come together to produce signs in support of the social protests, which were displayed in a recent protest in Ashkelon. This activity can serve as a model for community organizing, recruitment and mobilization in additional smaller communities, kibbutzim and towns and should facilitate participation in the social justice campaign by those unable to come to the protests.
- The Housing and Construction Ministry is planning an exclusively Ultra Orthodox city in Harish, which will create significant environmental degradation in the area and involves the expropriation of land from nearby Jewish and Arab communities. At a time when rising housing costs are high on the public agenda, area residents are furious over the severe discrimination in the allocation of land and of state resources, for the benefit of only one sector. Shatil staff have been giving extensive consultation to the Harish Regional Campaign Coalition, comprised of Jews, Arabs, Kibbutz members and residents of Harish itself who are campaigning against the government’s plans. The consultation, in the areas of resource development and media relations, facilitated the coalition’s holding on August 27th of a demonstration both widely attended and widely covered by the media. Click here to see videos from the demonstration.
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