Safeguarding Civil Rights
Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being.
Though the State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, the nation is often faced with the challenge to abide by its democratic nature and uphold basic civil rights, religious freedom, and equality. In particular, religious and ethnic minorities, refugees and foreign workers are often subject to exploitation, discrimination, and denial of these basic liberties. Currently, there are over 18,000 refugees and asylum seekers from nations ravaged by war and genocide living in Israel while some 200,000 migrant or foreign workers reside in the nation. Over 25% of Israel’s 7.6 million are religious minorities.
The Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) helps to safeguard civil rights and combat discrimination by conducting “Know Your Rights” seminars around the nation to equip disadvantaged communities with knowledge regarding their legal and civil rights. Collaborating with other advocacy organizations such as Kav LaOved, Hotline for Migrant Workers, and the Refugee Rights Clinic, JIJ administers seminars on topics including workers’ rights, visa and refugee application processes, family reunification, detention and arrest.
Among religious minorities, JIJ provides immigration consultation and information, counsel and legal representation on issues pertaining to citizenship rights and religious freedom. The institute also ensures the facilitation of criminal investigations involving vandalism of places of worship and perpetrators of violence against religious minorities and the properties belonging to them. Over the past seven years, JIJ has successfully handled over 450 cases of discrimination, including 19 Supreme Court victories dealing with citizenship and residency rights, freedom of worship, and the equal application of basic civil rights to all men regardless of religious or ethnic affiliation.