Applying a gender lens to respond to the crisis in Israel
The surprise attack by Hamas on Israel was unprecedented, and the magnitude of the events that began with the massacre on October 7 is like nothing we have ever seen during Israel’s history. Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, brutally murdering over 1,400 Israelis, wounding thousands, and capturing more than 240 people as hostages in Gaza. Families have been killed en masse and ripped apart. Women have been sexually assaulted. Kids have been murdered and taken hostage. The collective trauma is only just settling in as the crisis takes on new dimensions: a ground invasion into Gaza, fighting on the Northern front, and desperate efforts to bring the hostages home.
Israeli women are organizing through their deep pain and trauma, and National Council of Jewish Women is here for them. Through our Israel Granting Program (IGP) Emergency Appeal, NCJW is building resources to address the most urgent, acute needs, while planning for the long crisis ahead. Viewing the crisis through a gender lens, this fund is focused on strengthening efforts and approaches which place women, children, and families front and center at all levels.
The Israel Granting Program Emergency Appeal will fund the following priorities:
- Women Organizing for Women, Children and Families: NCJW believes in the power of women organizing for women. Through the IGP Emergency Appeal, we are supporting grassroots organizing efforts led by women to provide urgent, immediate relief to meet the basic needs of those most impacted. This includes food, shelter, sanitary products, toys, and more for women, children, and families of Gaza border communities that have been decimated by the vicious Hamas attack. We are also preparing for needs arising in the North.
- Trauma Counseling for Women, centered on women’s experience: Israeli society is undergoing a trauma of colossal proportions, and women, children, and families need emotional first aid now, and a route to emotional rehabilitation for the long term. We will work with partners to provide therapeutic support to women across Israel, prioritizing those most in need: women from Gaza border communities; women whose loved ones have been murdered, kidnapped, or are fighting on the front lines; single mothers; survivors of sexual violence whose scars are triggered by the images and stories around them; and victims of domestic abuse who are beginning to bear the brunt of the PTSD shockwaves in their homes. For this effort we will work with experts in therapeutic approaches that validate and address the unique ways we experience pain, loss, and trauma as women.
- Including women and women’s perspectives in decision making and negotiation: As this devastating conflict deepens, the lives and wellbeing of innocent women, children, and families in Israel, Gaza, and beyond are at risk. It is vital that women are among those that make decisions about the conflict and its resolution, and in particular, that they are included in the hostage negotiating teams so that women’s perspectives and experiences are represented. We will work with partners that are lobbying and influencing Israeli decision makers to incorporate women on key teams.
We have worked in Israel to support marginalized communities since the country’s founding, developing deep relationships with organizers on the ground who place women, children, and families front and center. These relationships and our ongoing work in Israel enabled us to quickly react and determine emerging needs among our partners. The IGP Emergency Appeal also funds, in part, this ongoing work.