29. May. 2014

Civil Society and Democratic Participation

Students' discussion


In light of German history and its own participation in the post war history of Germany, the Greens and the Heinrich Boell Stiftung see democratic participation as a basic ingredient for a vibrant and stable democracy. It aims to strengthen civil society as a motor for securing and developing democracy. An essential part of this is the effort to secure and implement the rights of minorities in society. The foundation supports projects in Israel that help to implement the rights of foreign workers and low paid workers. It supports organizations that work for the improvement of the status of the Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel as well as efforts to promote fair compromises concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Democracy and the Middle East


Lessons from Oslo – Lack of Strategic Decisions Led to Impasse in the Process

July 2, 2013 - On June 20, 2013, the Heinrich Böll Foundation Israel, the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies and the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue held the conference 20 Years since the Oslo Accords - Success and/or Failure?. In advance of a comprehensive publication of contributions, we are pleased to present this analysis by Dr. Ephraim Lavie on the early foundation of obstacles in the Oslo negotiation process. more»


Refugees and Migration - An international perspective

- May 28, 2012 -
In the past weeks, Israel was confronted with events bringing to public attention for the first time the social and political implications of African refugees in Israel. A demonstration that spiraled out of control initiated fierce reactions from the political right and an intensified public debate. For further information see Marianne Zepp: “Israel has a refugee problem – similar to Europe’s?”. A background analysis stressing the special Israeli conditions is provided by Lisa Hücking (intern at the HBF Israel and MA student in Political Science at the FU Berlin): “Nation, State and (illegal) Immigration in Israel”. more»


“The Green Wave” screenings in Israel


The Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Israel office sponsored the Israel premiere of „The Green Wave“, Germany 2010, directed by Ali Samadi Ahadi  – a renowned documentary about the uprising in Iran following the presidential elections of 2009. The premier took place  at this year's Jerusalem Film Festival on July 11, 2011 where it received an honorable mention by the festival jury.

Read more about the film and the screenings which took place in Israel»

People's Power - The Arab World in Revolt

- May 10, 2011 - The 2010–2011 Middle East and North Africa protests seemed unexpected, but were they really that unexpected? This publication addresses many questions, among them: First, what has happened? And second, what has invested these regimes with such long-lasting resilience? Layla Al-Zubaidi, Doreen Khoury, Anbara Abu-Ayyash, Joachim Paul more»

Social Protests in Israel


From Social Protest to Civic Economic Power

October 14, 2012 - One of the outcomes of the social protests during the summer 2011 is a blossoming of cooperatives across Israel. Citizens are taking change into their own hands and create new economic models. Yifat Solel provides an overview of these new initiatives and describes further potentials. more»


Male Warfare, Female Welfare

- August 31, 2011 - When Daphni Leef says that we are talking about homes and Bibi Netanyahu is talking about real estate, when teachers who oppose the latest reform say that education is not a business, when physicians are calling out to save the future of public health care, they are all calling to remove public services from the jurisdictional realm of business logic. Guy Shani more»


A summer of Protests for Social Justice in Israel Seeks a Green New Deal

- August 17, 2011 -
With Israel asking itself some deep questions about the directions it should go in embodied in the recent protest movement, the Green Movement just released the first draft of a new economic plan for Israel. Based on the Green New Deals that emerged from green think tanks and political parties from around the world, the Economics of Tomorrow suggests a new model for government intervention that promotes economic development while preserving ecological resources and social democratic values. Alon Tal And Racheli Tedhar Kener, chairpersons of the Green Movement, offer a unique perspective, linking the economic plan with the currrent surge of protests for social justice in Israel.


Israeli Social Protests: the key to changing everything?

- August 14, 2011 -

For the first few weeks of the housing-cum-social protests in Israel, nothing else seems to matter. For at least a week or two after the “J14” protests began (on July 14, in Tel Aviv), the press happily let it muscle out everything else – Palestinians, Iran, September, democracy barely reached back pages of the papers. Everything seemed drowned out by a chorus of wonder and amazement at the growing numbers of protesters flooding the streets weekly, including tens of thousands who have demonstrated or set up camps in at least 13 other cities or towns around the country. Only the crashing global markets seem to have penetrated the euphoria.

Dahlia Scheindlin more»

The Israeli Summer

- August 3, 2011 - After Daphne Leef, a twenty-five-year-old video editor, got word from her landlord that her lease wouldn't be renewed, she discovered she'd been priced out of Tel Aviv. Housing prices in the city have increased by 65% in the past five years, with rents rising in tow. A thousand-foot apartment in the city rents these days for two to three thousand dollars a month, which is more than most Israelis make altogether. Financial planners advise to keep rent costs to 30% of income, but to stay in Tel Aviv, young professionals need to sign over their salary checks in full, taking second jobs, loading up on roommates or counting on monthly supplements from parents. For Leef, who since finishing film school has made clips for some of Israel's biggest pop stars, none of these options made sense. When she considered her situation, something snapped. So she posted on Facebook that when her lease was up, she would pitch a tent in the city center, inviting to join her all those fed up at finding their salaries fall short of their rent.


Noah Efron more»

Democratic Participation on the Municipal Level

Arab-Palestinian Local Governance in Israel at a Glance: Challenges and Opportunities

June 12, 2011 -
Dr. Yousef Jabareen, General Director of Dirasat: Arab Center for Law and Policy provides a review of the poor level of functioing of Arab local councils and relates to the historical context and long-standing national policy failures to assess the current situation. He outlines the main factors contributing to the distress in Arab municipalities as well as the impacts including socio-economic indicators. Finally, he describes the recent initiatives of civil society, including Dirasat, to provide models of best practices and empower decision makers to improve management and thereby improve the services and overall civic culture for all.

Between Democracy and Security

Policy Paper

International Security Guarantees on the Way to a Permanent Agreement on a Two-State-Solution Israel / Palestine

March 22, 2012 - From mid-2010 to mid-2011 a working group of Israeli and Palestinian security experts developed concrete proposals and practical steps for international security guarantees in the case of a two state solution between Israel and Palestine. This work was undertaken at the invitation of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung. The group presents their recommendations at several events in Berlin, Brussels and Washington, DC. Core Group more»


“The main general concern is Israel’s deepening isolation”

- June 1, 2010 - How is the Israeli public reacting to the flotilla incident? What is the reaction of the Israeli peace groups? What kind of protest took place or is planned? What kind of repercussions of the events towards the proximity talks do you see? Dan Jacobson, Tel-Aviv University professor, Peace Now activist and Meretz Party official answers these questions and more.
Read the interview»

Difficult Times for the Israeli Civil Society

- May 26, 2010 - In the past months, the number of attacks by the nationalist camp against Israeli human rights organizations and other non-governmental organizations has risen significantly. A report by the director of the Israel office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation Joern Boehme more»

Israel at 60

Watch the videoclip taken on this occasion:
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US – Israeli Relations

Akiva Eldar

Background Paper

US - Israeli Relations: No More Have One’s Cake and Eat it

May 22, 2009 - Last week's meeting between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu showed a fundamental disagreement between the U.S. and Israel. Obama made it clear that he is committed to a two-state solution, yet Netanyahu vacillated. Israel and its most important ally may face a deep ideological and strategic rift. By Akiva Eldar more»

2014 Democracy Project Partners

Shaharit, The Think Tank for New Israeli Politics, Uncovering Social Values Trends in Israel and their Political Opportunities - Shaharit is an independent think-and-do tank, offering a fresh take on the Israeli reality, breaking down the dichotomies between left and right, Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, privatization and welfare, center and periphery -- in order to break out of the stalemate of current Israeli political thinking.  Shaharit is engaged in deep thinking about the fundamentals of Israeli political life, and seeks to reframe many of the central issues which plague the Israeli politic through an open conversation with individuals and groups throughout multicultural Israel.  In- depth public survey work is being conducted in 2014 as a way to understand new trends and attitudes among different communities in Israel


Shutafut-Sharakah:Organizations for Shared, Democratic and Equal Society, Promoting a Shared Society Through Media and Public Outreach - Established in 2009, Shutafut-Sharakah, is a forum of civil society organizations committed to the advancement of democratic values and the promotion of an equal and shared society for all Israeli citizens, Jews and Arab-Palestinians alike. At a time when anti-Arab and anti-democratic sentiments are increasing, they are leveraging their complementary expertise and reputations so as to powerfully combat this trend.  Through ongoing monitoring of discriminatory and prejudicial behavior in the public sphere, hard-hitting campaigns, strategic media outreach and relationship building with key media stakeholders, they are helping to infuse the media and the public discourse with strong and resounding messages in support of equality and democracy. The project’s overall goal is to promote a shared and more democratic society in Israel by influencing the public and media discourse through extensive work with both the Hebrew and the Arab media in Israel, as well as ongoing monitoring of and campaigning against discriminatory policies and practices, and dynamic public outreach activities.


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