Rabbi Brian Lurie, the former CEO of the San Francisco-area Jewish federation, has become president of the New Israel Fund.
The New Israel Fund has opened a branch in Australia, sparking renewed debate about the pluralist, human rights organization. NIF, which has raised in excess of $200 million for more than 800 NGOs in Israel since 1979, will be led by Sydney-based barrister Robin Margo, who was president of the Jewish community in New South Wales between 2008 and 2010.
The Ford Foundation is denying that it is ending its Israel funding over criticism leveled at the foundation and some of the groups it helps to fund. The Forward reported Thursday that the philanthropic foundation, which has contributed $40 million to civil society groups since 2003, will wind down its giving in two years.
When Adalah, an Israeli Arab legal rights group, joined an initiative in 2007 to create an Israeli constitution that would dilute -- if not remove -- the state's Jewish character, it unleashed a furor in pro-Israel circles.
Ronit Heyd, joined by Ilana Litvak, who came to Israel from the former Soviet Union, and Nidal Abed El Gafer, a Palestinian lawyer, were in Los Angeles last week as three "connected" Israelis, working to empower their country's underprivileged and raise the level of civic involvement. Their presence at a roundtable was sponsored by the New Israel Fund (NIF), which has just raised its Los Angeles profile by reestablishing a local office, after a four-year hiatus.