October 23, 2023

Emergency Response and Coordination – Arab Citizens and Jewish-Arab Relations

UPDATED: November 10, 2023.


One response to the horrific attacks launched by Hamas on Saturday, October 7th, has been an overwhelming mobilization of Israeli citizens and organizations in support of those in need. This includes efforts to address immediate emergency needs in Arab communities (i.e. shelter, food and medicine, advisory information, trauma counseling, education and children’s frameworks); and to preventing potential escalations, tensions, and further violence between Arab and Jewish citizens.

Implementation of these efforts falls into three major areas:*

  • National coordination and provision of safety and welfare needs for Arab citizens and communities, ranging from shelters and medical equipment through high rates of arrests and dismissals from workplaces and academia.
  • Negev Bedouin focused activity addressing unique needs in the south, including lack of shelters and alert systems, access to trusted information, food and medicine.
  • Jewish-Arab relations, addressing rapidly intensifying concerns about escalations in mixed cities, regions, and spaces, and looking at the impact on the future of Israeli society.*
    * A separate IATF briefing on Jewish-Arab relations in Israel in the current crisis is forthcoming.

Today there are roughly four levels of coordination across dozens of initiatives:

  • Emergency Centers that coordinate between government, local authorities, communities, and field organizations predominantly focused on immediate safety and welfare,
  • Civil sector coalitions and forums that coordinate activities and information across numerous NGOs. These are working on both immediate emergency needs and Jewish-Arab relations.
  • General civil sector activity: Arab and Jewish-Arab organizations, large and small, across all areas of activity and services, adjusted their activities and/or launched new efforts to support emergency needs.

The report below focuses on the major levels of emergency coordination and activities. It is accompanied by IATF’s growing database that details emergency response efforts of different organizations. Both this report and the dashboard are updated regularly during this time.


National Emergency Response Coordination

1.    National Emergency Information Center for Arab Localities

(Previously: “National Situation Room for Arab Localities”)
The Authority for Economic Development for Arab Society in the Ministry of Social Equality, in cooperation with the National Council for Heads of Arab Local Authorities (NCHALA) and the municipality of Kfar Kassem, opened an emergency information center to serve as a resource center and hub that collects and shares information regarding emergency-related issues and needs in Arab communities in Israel. The center is operated by teams that:

  • Map local authority needs and communicate to them to the government,
  • ensure Arab communities’ needs are part of government allocation of emergency resources and activities,
  • support Arab local authorities develop and implement their emergency response,
  • coordinate response with civil society organizations,
  • carry out related trainings in the coming period,
  • monitor for misinformation,
  • collect and share information on a regular basis, and
  • publish reports to the media and public.

The emergency center coordinates with the Home Front Command, the police, the Ministry of Education, fire and rescue services and government offices, with the aim of receiving information from them and passing it on to local authorities and associations. The emergency center will also work to provide cross-cutting solutions and engage government agencies and NGOs.

Different civil sector organizations act as arms of the center. For example: Taware, the coalition of Arab NGOs detailed below, gathers information from the field and coordinates civil sector implementation; Injaz supports mapping needs and developing emergency centers in local authorities; and others.

An updated mapping of needs identified by the local authorities will be available by Tuesday, October 24th.

Contact: Ameer Bisha’arat | Email: [email protected]

2.    TAWARE: Civil Society Coalition for Emergencies in the Arab Community
Taware (Arabic for ‘Emergency’) was formed at the beginning of this year to serve to ensure safety and welfare needs of Arab communities have the capacities, resources, and platform for coordination to act effective in emergency situations.

Coordinated by Qaddaya, Taware is acting as an arm of the National Emergency Information Center for Arab Society to gather information and needs by the NGO partners on the ground, and coordinate emergency response. Taware also works in cooperation with the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, the National Committee for Heads of Arab Local Authorities. With a broad spectrum of functions, currently, the coalition’s core activities include:

  • communicating critical information to and about the community through various channels,
  • documenting incidents of violence and arrests in Arab society,
  • providing essential mental health support via a network of volunteer psychologists, and
  • ensuring the availability of crucial medical equipment for healthcare needs.

Participating organizations: Taware is adding more organizations daily.

Current members include:

  • ACRI
  • AlTufula
  • Amanina
  • Arab Academic Guidance Association
  • Arab Center for Alternative Planning
  • Association of Arab Psychologists
  • Belonging and Giving Association / Intima’ w Ata’
  • Citizens for the Environment
  • Givat Haviva
  • Hasoub
  • Humanity Crew
  • I’lam
  • Injaz
  • Mossawa
  • Qadaya
  • Sanad
  • Shared Emergency Center in the Negev
  • Shatil
  • Sikkuy-Aufoq
  • The Abrahim Initiatives
  • Tishreen
  • Women Against Violence

Contact: Samer Swaid | Email: [email protected]

In parallel, the Forum for Arab Civil Sector Organizations, led by Nidal Othman, is collecting information from additional Arab NGOs and advocates for their resources and support.


Negev Bedouin Emergency Response

3.    Shared Emergency Center for Negev Bedouin
Operated from the city of Hura, this center works in close coordination with National Emergency Information Center, focused on identifying and addressing emergency needs of Negev Bedouin communities. In partnership with government and local authorities, regional clusters, and dozens of local civil sector organizations, the center works to provide essential shelter in unrecognized villages, to identify needs and coordinate provision and support, and to provide information, equipment, and personal assistance to the community. The work thus far has been divided according to teams:

  • Local emergency response. Responding to incidents in unrecognized villages.
  • Missing and kidnapped. Team tracking information on the missing and kidnapped.
  • Medical: Tracking the treatment of wounded in hospitals and providing family support.
  • Communications: Preparing public campaigns and disseminating accurate information in Arabic to residents.
  • Volunteer management: Deploying volunteers in the fields of informal education and advancing community initiatives.
  • Policy: Organizing mobile shelters in unrecognized villages and other issues concerning government agencies.
  • Social-emotional support: Operating hotline providing mental health response as well as individual treatment.

Dozens of local organizations and leaders are cooperating through the center, including but not limited to: AJEEC-NISPED, Union of Arab Doctors, Shatil, Itach Maaki, Desert Stars, Tamar Center for Counseling, Arabs of 48’, Siraj, Lena, The Council for Unrecognized Villages, Negev Coexistence Forum, Hura young adults center, Israel Trauma Coalition, High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, and others.

Contact: Eran Buhlatzev | Email: [email protected]

Local Organizations: In parallel, many organizations are active in the region. For example, Yanabia is prioritizing provision of physical shelters; Bimkom, the Negev Coexistence Forum, and The Abraham Initiatives jointly launched an app to map where shelters are most needed; and many Jewish-Arab efforts around the country are raising awareness and collecting goods.

View Database: View the growing list of civil sector for Negev Bedouin


Preventing Escalations and Preserving Jewish-Arab Relations

4.    Coalition for the Prevention of Jewish-Arab Violence in Israel
Since May 2021, civil sector organizations and activists working in the field of Jewish-Arab relations have been on alert for incitement to violence between Jews and Arabs within Israel, especially in mixed cities and areas. Following the October 7th attacks, a coalition organized by Shatil’s Forum of Shared Society Organizations, along with Tsedek Centers, The Abraham Initiatives, and Givat Haviva formed to coordinate activity in three main areas: communications and media, local authorities, and civil sector initiatives, as described below.

Contact: Fida Nara Tabony | Email: [email protected]

(i)    Communications and Media
An effort to include a variety of voices in the media with the goal of encouraging a peaceful and non-inflammatory discourse, opposing violence and that “we are in this together.” Furthermore, there is a dedicated effort on social networks to prevent the spread of false information, hate-speech, and incitement to organized violence against between Jews and Arabs.

Participating organizations:

(ii)    Cooperation Between Local Authorities and Organizations
During the events of May 2021, mixed communities that had strong and cooperative local Jewish-Arab leadership, violence was successful prevented. In this area of work, organizations aim to strengthen joint local leadership, and support cooperation between activists from civil society, academia, and local authorities that can maintain order and calm tensions.

Participating organizations:

(iii)    Organizational Coordination in Mixed Localities
This initiative involves coordinating and aligning the activities of Jewish-Arab organizations. Tzedek Centers published a landing page listing various community initiatives that can serve as  a hub for networking and resources, including those working in Mixed Cities.

Participating organizations: 

5.    Mixed Cities Forum
Tzedek Centers, The Abraham Initiatives, and Givat Haviva are cooperating to support local activities taking place in the most challenged mixed cities to preserve calm and prevent escalations. This includes supporting local actors in community organizing, working with a joint municipal “guard” that has been created to promote Jewish-Arab solidarity in each city, hiring coordinators in each city to support ongoing local efforts, and launching campaigns for messaging about a solidarity and a shared future in these cities.

Additional Civil Sector Efforts 
The civil sector focused on Arab citizens of Israel is comprised of professional organizations that work on improving opportunities and services for Arab communities (i.e. policy and advocacy, economic development, employment, education, legal rights, health and welfare, leadership, women, disabilities, and many local and social services.) In addition, over the last two decades, a field of shared society organizations has grown—much of it joint Jewish-Arab– to strengthen capacities for fruitful relations between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israeli society.

Quickly after October 7th, all these organizations jumped into action out of an understanding that Arab citizens will be disproportionately affected materially and socially by an unprecedented escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some organizations adjusted their activities to support constituents with immediate needs. Others are launching major efforts to meet the outsized challenge of preventing harmful deterioration and preserving a way forward for Jewish-Arab relations at this volatile time.

The coordination detailed above indicates the growing capacities of the Arab civil sector and shared society organizations to work professionally and in collaboration across dozens of organizations and diverse needs that also strengthens these fields as a whole. That said, both fields are still relatively weak. with a high proportion of small and under-resourced organizations, many of which are not known or visible to most funders.

Database: IATF’s effort to compile a database of emergency responses for Arab communities and Jewish-Arab relations in Israel aims to illustrate the diversity and sophistication of efforts, large and small, in the field. You can view the database as a whole, or filtered for coordinated efforts coalitions, the Negev, or Jewish-Arab relations. We will continue to update the list over the coming weeks.

View the database:

Add initiatives: funders and organizations are invited to complete this form to add to the database.


Emergency Fund:
Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society (SVF)

In response to the war in Israel, and to continue advancing its goals at this extraordinarily difficult time, the Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society in Israel is raising an Emergency Fund to support prevention of incitement and inter-communal violence in Israel and to Arab communities that are outside the traditional social service and crisis safety net.

SVF Emergency Fund: https://svfisrael.org/svf-emergency-fund/


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How Can We Help?

Do you need support integrating these resources and issues into your philanthropic, communal, or Israel education work? Reach out for consultations, connections to experts, program support, training, or to plan your next event or mission. If you’ve used our resources, tell us about your experience!

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