WASHINGTON (JTA) — The New Israel Fund has earmarked $2 million for an initiative aimed at advancing democracy in Israel, which it sees as under threat from the ultranationalist right.
“Overt racism, ultra-nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise,” the NIF said in a statement last week announcing New Initiatives for Democracy, or NIF-D. “NIF’s leadership believes that these trends are no accident, but are intentionally encouraged and accelerated by a well-funded, interconnected network of institutions advocating the viewpoints of the ultra-nationalist right.”
Part of the initiative’s focus will be on think tanks advancing progressive ideas, including Molad, the Center for Renewal of Israeli Democracy; Mitvim, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies; and the Council for Peace and Security.
Since its establishment in 1979, the U.S.-based NIF has encouraged democracy programs in Israel. But the group, which has an annual budget of $30 million, said in the statement that the recent anti-democratic trends there required a sharper focus.