Civil Society in a State of Emergency: A Snapshot of Major Jerusalem Initiatives
Main Civil Society in a State of Emergency: A Snapshot of Major Jerusalem Initiatives
Since the outbreak of the war on October 7, 2023, the entire state of Israel has been in an ongoing state of emergency. The various population groups residing in Jerusalem maintain a delicate balance of relations whose stability is affected by security-related, societal, and economic events. Following the outbreak of the Swords of Iron War, the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research began examining how the present state of emergency is affecting Jerusalem and its residents, while also monitoring the trends that have emerged in the city.
In Jerusalem, as throughout Israel, one of the most notable reactions to the war was civilian mobilization on an exceptional scale. Within a few days hundreds of initiatives sprouted and organized themselves in order to provide assistance to both the home front and the frontline. Some focused on specific areas of activity (transport, food, housing, medical assistance, etc.), while others sought to provide full and comprehensive assistance to their target population.
This review, prepared with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Israel, surveys a few of the main initiatives that emerged in Israel during the war. Given the tremendous scale of activity in Jerusalem, the review will focus on only five main initiatives, but it should be emphasized that there were many other important initiatives operating alongside them. These include initiatives by Jerusalem youth movements, neighborhood initiatives, initiatives by religious communities, initiatives by individuals, and initiatives by Jerusalem institutions and organizations, among others.
This review covers five initiatives whose activities stood out in terms of their scope of assistance, the diversity of the activists involved, the initiative’s impact on relations among the different population groups, or its impact on the relationship between civil society and the public sector in the city. The information presented here is based on interviews conducted with the initiatives’ directors or prominent activists, as well as official data provided by the various initiatives.
Photo Credit: HAMAL Situation Room Lev Ehad in Jerusalem