Hakeshet Hademocratit Hamizrahit -
Annual Activity Report 2003
Hakeshet Hademocratit Hamizrahit
is an apolitical, non-parliamentary social movement whose goal is to affect the
current public agenda in the aim of bringing a change into the Israeli society
as a whole and to its institutions. The organization is Mizrahi (Jews from Arab
Fields of activity
From the day of its establishment Hakeshet Hademocratit Hamizrahit has been active in 4 main fields: land; employment and unemployment; education and activity in the form of coalitions. During 2003 Hakeshet Hademocratit Hamizrahit expanded the scope of its activity and enlarged its number. This was achieved especially through coalition activities also on the international level. A major part of the organization’s work relates to organizing conferences, media expose and performances on central issues.
Following is a detailed description on each of our activities:
1. Land Struggles – The organization began to act against the inequality in relation to land distribution during the 90’s. As a result of precedent high court ruling the issue was raised up to public discussion for the first time. This court ruling is one of the organization’s meaningful achievements in social related issues in the past several years.
Following is a description of the organization’s projects in issues related to land rights and the right for housing:
1.1 Public Housing: During the 90’s Hakeshet Hademocratit played a major role in passing 3 laws that created a meaningful change in regards to Public Housing (buying and renting) rights. The first, “The Public Housing Law” from 1998. The second, “Public House Tenants Rights Law” from 1998 and third, “The Public House Tenants Regulations” from 2000. The last two determines specifications in regards to ongoing maintenance of public houses during their renting time in public rent. During 2003 Hakeshet acted against the Government suggested nation’s annual budget for 2004 and also against the Law of Regulations. These two government initiatives severely affect the people living in public housing. The Regulation Law completely cancels The Public Housing Law and the budget itself gravely affects the rights and benefits of public housing residents in issues related to buying and renting homes. Hakeshet operated lobby activities at the Kenesset in order to stop the national budget proposition and the Regulation Law.
Activity as Part of the Lands Forum: On August 28th 2002 the Israeli Supreme
Court ruled in favor of the Keshet’s appeal and
against the Israel Lands Administration decision no. 727, 737 and
Deal: On October 22nd
2003 the Israel Lands Administration authorized the agreement between
The Civic Agreement Forum for the
Examination of Land Related Issues:
The goal of this project is to create a platform for discussions among
different sectors of the Israeli society on issues relating to just distribution and equality on issues relating to
land distribution and public housing in Israel. This initiative calls upon
social organizations and other groups to come together and create a new land
2. Education – In regards to the different issues related to education in
Studying Programs: The studying programs that exist in schools today
in all of the educational institutions are characterized by European approach
and do not relate to oriental (Mizrahi) issues. During 2003 Hakeshet was able
to add to the Bagrut history curriculum 2 chapters
that relate to Jewish oriental history. This is a significant achievement that
is a precedent in
2.2 High Education: During 2003 Hakeshet was part of a Jewish and Arab Organizational Coalition that fought against bringing back the psychometric exams and against the Mitzraf system (Psychometric Supreme Court Ruling). On Tuesday, February 9th the Court dismissed the coalition’s claim on the issue of lack of authority.
Activities against Ministry of
Education Policy: The aim of Hakeshet
Hademocratit is to operate in different ways in order to fight against the
educational cutbacks and privatization that among other things passes the
responsibility more to the parents and external institutions. Hkeshet sees itself dedicated to support and assist in
local struggles in the field of education. During 2003 the Keshet cooperated
with parents from
Vocational Studying: Vocational education is a trap that does not enable
its graduates to break the cycle of poverty and distress they come from. Only
12% from the vocational and technological students study in the university. 70%
are unqualified to register. During 2003 Hakeshet Hademocratit continued in
leading a coalition for education equality. This struggle has two main goals:
first, total cancellation of the vocational study tracks that lead to poverty
(hairdressing and tinsmith work). Second, adding the option of attending a full
Bagrut track in the vocational schools. On March 9th
2003 we held a conference on the issue of “Canceling the Vocational Schools as
a Means to Increase Educational Equality in
3. Culture - Hakeshet Hademocratit works in order to promote Mizrahi culture and artists.
3.1 Mizrahi and Arab in Israeli Arts: The goal of this project is to enhance the presence of Mizrahi art in the Israeli cultural landscape and emphasize the relationship between the culture and the community from which is rises. The project will include an exhibition that is comprised of 10 shows that will take place in 10 different community centers throughout the country. The exhibition will raise discussions the elements of local culture among Jews who come from Arabic and Islam countries and among the Palestinians citizens and artists whose local cultural identity is meaningful to their work. Throughout 2003 we have began making contacts with Arab organizations in order to develop the project.
3.2 The Annual Anthropological Conference: During 2003 Hakeshet Hademocratit initiated a public discussion in order to investigate the level of participation among Palestinian and Mizrahi researches in anthropological researches and the total lack of their representation in anthropological faculties. The initiative began through the Annual Anthropological Conference and caused much repercussion.
4. Coalition Activity – In addition to the ongoing activity of Hakeshet Hademocratit its members are key leaders in a variety of organizations that deal with social issues such as land, employment and unemployment, education, women rights, health and ad-hook coalitions such as the coalition for the Feminist Conference and the Coalition for the Activism Festival and more.
5. Conferences, media, lectures, public appearances – One of the organization’s main goal is to rise issues into public discussions and create a “new discussion”. In order to achieve this goal Hakeshet Hademocratit organizes conferences and operates to forward media expose and takes part in a variety of public appearances. Following are a few examples: during 2003 Hakeshet Hademocratit organized 6 conferences –
1) January 23rd
2003 – Election Discussion 2003: Between Identity Politics to Social Justice
Politics 2) March 3rd 2003 – Education in