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Civil Society in Israel

Peace Now poster for a Jewish-Arab Peace Chain held in Wadi Ara, in 1991 Image Peace Now, www.peacenow.org.il
Peace Now poster for a Jewish-Arab Peace Chain held in Wadi Ara, in 1991 Image Peace Now, www.peacenow.org.il

Civil society in Israel is very strong. There are hundreds of organizations concerned with human rights, women’s rights, the environment and religious issues. Most organizations are working towards a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. A few NGOs are working with Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories in order to achieve a peaceful solution to this conflict.

Such activist groups can operate relatively freely within Israel. They are, however, often monitored by the state. During protests, for example, the police register participants by taking photographs of them. Famous NGOs are Peace Now, an organization that was founded in the early 1980s when Israel began its military operation in Southern Lebanon.

Other organizations dealing with the conflict and the militaristic character of Israel’s society are Yesh Gvul, which supports conscientious objectors, and New Profile, a feminist organization that protests against the militarization of society. Breaking the Silence and Combatants for Peace are groups initiated by former combatants who seek a peaceful solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. Most organizations dealing with the conflict are based in Jerusalem and their activities often take place in the Occupied Territories.

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