In 2017-2018, Bimkom, along with three other organizations, established the Coalition for Social Justice in Urban Renewal. The Coalition was made of civil society and academic organizations that aimed to incorporate social aspects in urban renewal processes in Israel, emphasizing the active and effective involvement of residents in every step of the process, and creating tools and solutions that would improve their well-being and protect them from discrimination.
Particular emphasis was placed on the activities of the Coalition for Ethiopian Immigrants, and the policy and public housing needs of this population. The Coalition aims to help the Ethiopian population in Israel in approaching urban renewal processes, in order to empower the community and increase its influence in planning decisions.
The organizations taking part in the Coalition are:
The Hagar Center – Social Housing Research and Policy Development: The Center is a university initiative operated by the Tel Aviv University Law Department, and was established to develop new knowledge and tools in the housing sector and to promote policy in favor of adequate and accessible housing for middle and low-income residents. The Center produces applied academic research, formulates legislative proposals, and develops new policy tools to support “change generating” projects in the housing sector.
The Association of Ethiopian Jews: The Association was founded in 1993, and promotes the advancement of equitable policy to close gaps and improve living conditions for Ethiopian immigrants in Israel through working with decision makers, media, legislation, legal tools, and more. The Association works at all levels of policy-making and civil society to change the local prevailing perceptions that the Ethiopian immigrant community is weak and ununified. “We strive to spread the awareness that Ethiopian immigrants are a heterogeneous community, an integral part of Israel’s social-political-cultural fabric, and to create a just society free of prejudice, political patronage, ethnic discrimination and racist stereotyping.”
Tarbut Movement is a national movement that brings together a network of artist-educators that create culture and original art together with communities in the geosocial periphery. In addition, Tarbut Movement serves as a platform for fulfillment and personal advancement for youth and creative young people working to shape Israeli society.
Through the Coalition, three position papers were written as a basis for promoting policy regarding the issues that are important to each of the participating organizations.
In order for the intervention of the Coalition to be effective, we chose to focus on a neighborhood with a large population of Ethiopian immigrants, in which a raze-and-rebuild project is being promoted. The Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood in Rishon Letsion was selected, where a large-scale build-raze-rebuild project was taking place, and where 40% of the residents were Ethiopian. The project in Ramat Eliyahu was